Disney sued for spying on children through its apps

By : |August 10, 2017 0

Walt Disney has been secretly collecting personal information of some of their youngest customers and sharing that data illegally with advertisers without parental consent, according to a lawsuit filed in California.

The lawsuit targets Disney and three software companies- Upsight, Unity and Kochava, alleging that the mobile apps they built violate the law by gathering insights about the app users across the Internet. The plaintiff, a San Francisco woman named Amanda Rushing, says she was unaware that information about her child, “L.L.” was collected while playing mobile game Disney Princess Palace Pets, and that data was then sold to third parties for ad targeting.

According to the lawsuit, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), 1999 requires companies that are designing apps for kids, as well as third parties working with them, to obtain verifiable consent from parents before collecting personal information for children under age 13.

The class action lawsuit argues that Disney allowed the software companies to embed trackers in apps such as Disney Princess Palace Pets and Where’s My Water? 2. Once installed tracking software can then “exfiltrate that information off the smart device for advertising and commercial purposes,” according to the lawsuit.

Disney has responded to the lawsuit, saying “Disney has a robust COPPA compliance program, and we maintain strict data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families. The complaint is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of COPPA principles, and we look forward to defending this action in court.”

In total, the lawsuit names 42 Disney apps, which violate the COPPA rule including AvengersNet, Beauty and the Beast, Perfect Match, Cars Lightening League, Club Penguin Island, Color by Disney, Disney Color and Play, Disney Crossy Road, Disney Dream Treats, Disney Emoji Blitz, and more.

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