Our privacy attorneys are investigating whether to file a Google children’s apps class action lawsuit regarding unsuitable content and improper sharing of children’s information by Android apps. Google’s Designed for Families program reportedly helps parents find “family-friendly” apps for their children. But a study by researchers at U.C. Berkeley of 5,885 child-directed Android apps found that more than 50 percent of the apps were “potentially violating US law on the collection and sharing of data on those under 13,” reports The Guardian. And in September 2018, Wired reports:
New Mexico’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Tiny Lab, an app developer behind games like Fun Kid Racing, as well as advertising companies including Google and Twitter, alleging that they violated children’s privacy laws…
On December 19, 2018, a consumer advocacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Google for allowing unsuitable content and advertising (such as casino ads) into apps that were part of the Designed for Families program, reports New York Times.
Google Family Linked to Improper Data Sharing, says Study
The study of the Google Family store found that 4.8 percent of children’s applications in the store shared “location or contact information without consent,” reports The Guardian. Another 18 percent of applications shared “persistent identifiers” (such as IP or MAC address) with third parties for “prohibited purposes such as ad targeting,” The Guardian reports. And 39% of kid’s apps shared data with third party advertising networks or data aggregators whose terms of service informed Android app developers that they should not share information from children’s apps (for kids under 13).