Disney sued for collecting data in kids' apps

Disney mobile game lawsuit filed over data collection from children

Disney and Nickelodeon are violating privacy protection laws by collecting children's personal information through their apps.

Children's-entertainment giant Disney is facing a federal class action lawsuit filed in California for allegedly violating privacy protection laws, reports The Verge.

The apps - which the plaintiffs collectively referred to as the "game tracking apps" - named in the complaint include Disney Princess Palace Pets, AvengersNet, Beauty and the Beast: Perfect Match; Cars Lightening League; Zootopia Crime Files: Hidden Object; Frozen Free Fall; Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot; Inside Out Thought Bubbles; Moana Island Life; Olaf's Adventures; Star Wars: Puzzle Droids; Star Wars: Commander; Maleficent Free Fall; Club Penguin Island; Color by Disney; Disney Color and Play; Disney Crossy Road; Disney Dream Treats; Disney Emoji Blitz; and Disney Gif. The trackers collect information related to a child's mobile app usage, the child's geographical location, and the internet browsing history outside of the mobile apps, according to the lawsuit.

Rushing, a resident of San Francisco, also said the data collected was being sold to third parties for ad targeting without their consent. "For instance, little girls are likely to be massive fans of the "#Disney Princess" franchise, and they might probably indulge their fandom through playing a variety of game apps that the House of Mouse has put out. Enacted by Congress way back in 1999, the COPPA states that companies must have parental permission included in their software to allow data collection, especially if the target audience were children under 13. Rushing wants Disney and the other companies to stop the tracking practices, destroy any personal data that they obtained thus far, and seeks "nominal and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial".

In a statement issued on August 7, Disney pushed back against the allegations and indicated that it is prepared to defend itself.

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They also said they maintain a strict data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families.

The lawsuit is blaming Disney and three other software companies: Unity, Upsight, and Kochava. The statement reads, "The complaint is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of COPPA principles..."

A new lawsuit against Disney claims that over 40 of the company's smartphone apps illegally collect information about children which is then shared with advertisers. "Where's My Water? 2", one of the apps listed in the suit, has been installed between 100 and 500 million times, according to the Washington Post.

We dread to think how low ideas have to be plumbed by the time you have 45 child-friendly games in your roster, but we imagine that most of the games could follow this naming convention: "temple/castle/sea+clone/robot/princess/space pirate+candy/rocks/jewels+run/catch/crush", with a few Disney specifics thrown in for good measure and a number at the end so you can tell them apart.

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