Mobile app makers that target children may not be ready for new privacy rules, which go into effect on Monday and can impose penalties of up to $16,000 per violation. The rules update a federal law known as COPPA, and require kids’ app makers to get parents’ permission before collecting even the most basic data — a challenging situation for many app makers that supply apps for free and use data to attract advertisers.
According to a new Wall Street Journal investigation into dozens of popular kids’ apps, many of the apps are still collecting data from children directly or via third parties like ad networks or analytics companies such as Flurry.
To avoid violating the COPPA rules, many of the app makers may have to unplug these services by Monday. The other alternative is to comply with a strict permission regime that require a parent to authorize a child joining a social network, or sharing data like first and last name, street name or photographs. The rules also require kid-targeted apps and websites to post privacy policies.
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