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In other tech legal news, W3 Innovations, the parent company of Broken Thumbs Apps, settled with the Federal Trade Commission over having reportedly collected children's personal data in their iPhone and iPod touch apps. The FTC has previously gone after other companies for similar issues, but this was the first to be centered around mobile apps.
Broken Thumbs Apps has brought games such as Zombie Duck Hunt, Truth or Dare, and Emily's Dress Up. W3 Innovations was originally hit with the FTC lawsuit on Friday and the settlement was this morning. In the complaint, the FTC alleged that W3 "collected, maintained, and/or disclosed personal information" entered into their various child-targeted apps. As an example, the complaint says that the company had collected and maintained a list of more than 30,000 emails, including personal information from more than 300 Emily's Girl World users and 290 Emily's Dress Up users.
The question is though, what kind of information does the company have on kids entail? Granted, it's usually the parents that buy and download the apps. Although according to the complaint, W3's apps ask the kids to enter names before starting the game. With Emily's Girl World, they have the opportunity to leave comments on a blog related to the app, which in turn is saved to W3's archives.
The FTC states that the apps were clearly marketed to children and the company has had more than 50,000 app downloads after first offering games on the iPhone and iPod touch. Since these apps send and receive information via the Internet, the FTC claims W3 is in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, as well as the FTC's COPPA rule, which requires that parents give consent before the company can collect or use personal information of children. In this case, parents were unaware of their children's details being collected and used in marketing purposes.
W3 didn't even bother to fight the accusations, immediately agreeing to settle to a $50,000 fine. The company has also agreed to delete all personal information that was collected in violation of the COPPA Rule, and claims that they will not make any future Rule violations.
via Ars Technica
Follow this article's author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter