Senators Markey, Blumenthal and Udall Call for FTC Investigation into Google Play Store

Potential children’s privacy and consumer protections violations alleged after review of Google Play store by experts


Washington (December 19, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch an investigation into new evidence of Google violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and engaging in unfair and deceptive practices within the Family section of the Google Play app store. In their letter, the Senators highlight evidence of kids’ apps illicitly sharing child users’ location information, exposing children to inappropriate content and advertising, and failing to implement reasonable security practices. COPPA, co-authored by Senator Markey, is the law that covers children age 12 and younger and requires operators of commercial websites and online services directed to children 12 and younger to abide by various privacy safeguards as they collect, use, or disclose personal information about kids. 


“The FTC is statutorily obliged to enforce COPPA and protect American consumers from unfair and deceptive practices,” write the Senators in the letter to all five FTC Commissioners. “We’ve brought to your attention a number of pressing concerns that call into question Google’s compliance with existing laws, and we encourage you to initiate an investigation into the aforementioned concerns as soon as possible.”


A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found HERE.


The Senators previously wrote to the Commission urging it to investigate widespread COPPA violations and manipulative marketing in children’s apps.