Is Disney breaking COPPA regulations?

imagesA recent Tweet caught my eye and upon following up I discovered that one of our most revered names in children's media has been once again allegedly breaking the law. A recent report claims that a class-action suit was filed on behalf of a San Francisco parent against The Walt Disney Co., who is secretly gathering personal information on some of their youngest users. To compound the issue it is allegedly sharing that data illegally with advertisers and breaking COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal law designed to protect the privacy of children on the Web. According to a federal lawsuit filed late last week in California, they are accused of facilitating “commercial exploitation.

Claims that Disney is allowing the software partner companies developing their apps to embed trackers in some of their most popular titles, such as “Disney Princess Palace Pets” and “Where’s My Water? 2.” and then illegally gathering information from children thirteen and younger. This tracking software can then “exfiltrate that information off the smart device for advertising and other commercial purposes,” according to the lawsuit.

What is this world coming to? I seriously doubt that Walt would condone this type of business practice if he were still at the helm. This is not the first time Disney has faced litigation over claims that they are violating COPPA. In 2011, the FTC penalized a company subsidiary of Disney, Playdom, $3 million US dollars after they were found to have registered 1.2 million users, most of them children from the online use of their product.

COPPA regulations state that website operators notify parents and obtain their permission before they collect, use, or disclose any of a child's personal information. It also requires that administrators post a privacy policy that is clear, understandable and comprehensive.



Here is the complete list of the 42 apps:


Beauty and the Beast

Perfect Match

Cars Lightning 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




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