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.   images-2 Here is the complete list of the 42 apps: AvengersNet 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   download-1  
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