URGING AN INVESTIGATION
Two tech advocacy groups, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD,) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Wednesday alleging Google is certifying apps for children as safe and appropriate violate a children’s privacy law by collecting personal data without parental consent.
“We urge the FTC to investigate Google’s practices and the truthfulness of its representations and act to protect parents from being misled and children from playing apps that are not appropriate and violate their privacy,” the groups wrote in the complaint.
A Google spokesperson defended the company’s handling of apps directed to children in response to the complaint.
“Google Play is committed to providing a positive and safe environment for children and families,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the company has taken steps to update the app store in recent years.
The groups acknowledged that Google has changed how it treats apps intended for children since they filed a complaint in 2018 over similar concerns. But they said the company has not fixed the alleged violations of COPPA.
“The FTC failed to act when this problem was brought to its attention over two years ago. Because children today are spending even more time using mobile apps, the FTC must hold Google accountable for violating children’s privacy,” Angela Campbell, chair of the board of directors of CCFC, said in a statement.