Class-action suit claims 42 Disney apps illegally exploit children's personal data
A federal class-action lawsuit filed in California in July 2017 alleges that in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and without parental permission, the Walt Disney Company secretly collects personal information about some of its youngest customers and shares it illegally with advertisers. The lawsuit alleges that Disney allowed the software companies Upsight, Unity, and Kochava, which are also named in the suit, to embed trackers in Disney apps that can then exploit the collected data for commercial purposes. Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy called the technologies in question "industrial-strength" and inappropriate for little children. Disney has called the lawsuit misguided and intends to defend its COPPA compliance programme.
The lawsuit, which represents consumers in 35 states, seeks an injunction, legal fees, and punitive damages. In 2011, the US Federal Trade Commission, which sets the COPPA privacy rules, fined Disney subsidiary Playdom $3 million when it was found to have registered 1.2 million users, mostly children, for online games. The most popular app named in the suit, , "Where's My Water? 2", has been installed between 100 and 500 million times on Android.
Writer: Brian Fung and Hamza Shaban
Publication: Washington Post