At this point, most grown-up mobile gamers are aware and willing to accept the fact that their gameplay habits are being tracked to varying degrees and the data gained may be used by developers and advertisers. It’s just the way things work these days. That said, things get murkier when companies are found to be tracking the patterns and behavior of children without their parents’ consent.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prohibits companies from collecting and sharing data from those under the age of 13, and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) has filed a class-action lawsuit against Disney (and mobile developers Upsight, Unity and Kochava) alleging 42 of their mobile apps based on movies like Frozen, Moana, and Toy Story, do exactly that. CDD director Jeffrey Chester explained why they felt it was important to launch the suit.
“These are heavy-duty technologies, industrial-strength data and analytic companies whose role is to track and monetize individuals. These should not be in little children’s apps.”
Of course, Disney denies the allegations, saying they’re in full compliance with COPPA…
“Disney has a robust COPPA compliance program, and we maintain strict data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families. The complaint is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of COPPA principles, and we look forward to defending this action in Court.”
Despite Disney’s defiant tone, the corporation has run afoul of COPPA before. Back in 2011 Disney subsidiary Playdom was fined $3 million under COPPA for allowing children to sign up for various online games without parental permission.
Without further ado, here’s the full list of Disney mobile apps allegedly collecting data from minors:
- Beauty and the Beast
- Perfect Match
- Cars Lightening League
- Club Penguin Island
- Color by Disney
- Disney Color and Play
- Disney Crossy Road
- Disney Dream Treats
- Disney Emoji Blitz
- Disney Gif
- Disney Jigsaw Puzzle!
- Disney LOL
- Disney Princess: Story Theater
- Disney Store Become
- Disney Story Central
- Disney's Magic Timer by Oral-B
- Disney Princess: Charmed Adventures
- Dodo Pop
- Disney Build It Frozen
- DuckTales: Remastered
- Frozen Free Fall
- Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot
- Good Dinosaur Storybook Deluxe
- Inside Out Thought Bubbles
- Maleficent Free Fall
- Miles from Tomorrowland: Missions
- Moana Island Life
- Olaf's Adventures
- Palace Pets in Whisker Haven
- Sofia the First Color and Play
- Sofia the First Secret Library
- Star Wars: Puzzle DroidsTM
- Star WarsTM: Commander
- Temple Run: Oz
- Temple Run: Brave
- The Lion Guard
- Toy Story: Story Theater
- Where’s My Water?
- Where's My Mickey?
- Where's My Water? 2
- Where’s My Water? Lite/Where’s My Water? Free
- Zootopia Crime Files: Hidden Object
It will be interesting to see where this case goes. If Disney loses, it will definitely shake up the mobile gaming scene in a big way. WWG will keep you updated on new developments in this case!
[via The Washington Post]