August 15th, 2011

FTC fines app developer $50,000 for privacy invasions


The Federal Trade Commission has levied a $50,000 fine against W3 Innovations, owner of Broken Thumbs Apps, for collecting personal information from minors. The FTC deemed that this practice was against the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and the ruling has sparked lawmakers to clamor for stricter rules for protecting children online.

Senators were quick to point out that the FTC’s ruling sets a precedent for mobile privacy, but more needs to be done to protect children. “We must be particularly vigilant when it comes to protecting the privacy and safety of our children,” said Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller. “And while I am pleased with the FTC’s recent action, I also believe it is crucial that the FTC completes its revision of the COPPA Rule to account for changing technology and give consumers the regulatory protections they need for the future.”

W3 Innovations produced apps that collected email addresses and other information from children. The apps for the iPhone and iPad were downloaded more than 50,000 times, and some were even listed in the children’s section of the iTunes App Store. The FTC voted 5-0 to levy the fine.

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