Columbus, Ohio — Jan. 16, 2013 — As a new, younger generation comes online, Better Business Bureau warns parents that some mobile applications for smart phones and tablets may be siphoning children’s data and sharing it. In most cases, developers are not disclosing whether data is being collected, with whom it is being shared or how it is used.
A study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission found that nearly 60 percent of children’s applications available from the iTunes store and Google Play that were examined by researchers “failed to provide any information about the data collected through the app, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose of the collection and who would obtain access to the data.”
The data collected and shared can include the child’s location, telephone number, contacts, device ID and other information contained on the mobile device. More worrying, according to the FTC, is that some applications offer the ability to make purchases and provide links to social media “without disclosing these features prior to download.”
Additionally, the study found that only 20 percent of the apps reviewed disclose any privacy policies, 22 percent contain links to social networking sites and almost 60 percent of them transmit information to advertisers, analytics companies and other third parties.
BBB recommends parents take these steps to protect their children and families’ personal information: