FTC Staff Conducts Follow Up Survey of Kids’ Apps

For Your Information

The FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation conducted a follow-up survey examining what information kids’ app developers are collecting from users, whom they are sharing it with, and what disclosures they are providing to parents about their practices. The findings will be announced in a series of blog posts, with the first one being released today.

The survey follows up on two FTC 2012 kids’ app surveys, Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing and Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade. These earlier surveys found that many apps shared kids’ information with third parties without telling parents, and that parents had little or no access to information about the apps’ privacy practices.

The new survey looked at 364 kids’ apps in Google Play and the Apple App Store, and in today’s post the FTC examined what privacy disclosures are available to parents. The December 2012 kids’ app survey found that only 20 percent of apps had a link to a privacy policy available to parents before downloading the app. The new survey found that developers are now doing a better job, with more than 45 percent having a direct link to their privacy policy on their app store pageFor many kids’ apps, however, parents still don’t have an easy way to learn about their data collection and usage practices. 

The findings are part of the third annual Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) privacy sweep. GPEN is a network of privacy enforcement authorities from around the world that promotes information sharing and international assistance.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Jay Mayfield
Office of Public Affairs