Dec 11, 2012, 04.36 PM | Source: Reuters

U.S. regulators start probe into children's online privacy

FTC-PRIVACY-CHILDREN:U.S. regulators start probe into children's online privacy

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are investigating a number of companies in the mobile app marketplace for failing to protect children's privacy or not disclosing what information is collected from users, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

The agency made the disclosure in releasing a report that found the makers of mobile apps designed for children had frequently failed to adequately inform parents about what information was collected about their children.

The information collected could include a child's location or mobile device number.

"FTC staff has initiated a number of investigations to address the gaps between company practices and disclosures," the agency said in a report. It declined to say which companies it was investigating or how many there were.

The FTC enforces the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires companies to get parental consent before collecting information about children aged 12 or younger.

To do the study, the agency chose 400 apps designed for children, 200 from Google Play and another 200 from Apple's


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