Kids using social networking apps are more vulnerable for pedophiles as both the parties have become more tech savvy. The alarms were rung by the United States based Federal Trade Commission who has charged major app builders for leaking data.
Recently, under the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act, or COPPA the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), autonomous agency based in the United States, had charged app builder W3 Innovations with $50,000 for leaking kids’ privacy - of children less than 13 years of age. Prior to that, in the beginning of 2011, the same agency had wrung out a whopping $3 million from Playdom, an online game developer for similar charges. Playdom is now famously known as a division of Disney.
FTC Director David Vladeck was quoted saying by an American daily that they wanted to make it crystal clear to app developers and to others in this new mobile space, that FTC believes the protection under COPPA is not platform specific. If the developers cannot do it online, they cannot do it in an app.
W3 Innovations is the one that created an imaginary character called Emily and published apps such as Emily's Girl World, Emily's Dress Up and Emily's Runway High Fashion largely targeted at children who were encouraged to dress up the character with flashy attires supported by comments and blogs. Interestingly, the same app was downloaded on Apple iPhone and Apple iPad more than 50,000 times. In order to protect the interests of the children, Andrew Servin, at the law firm Foley & Lardner, who helms privacy practice was quoted saying by the same daily that children are using these services more and more, opening themselves up to more information disclosures, and and there are more and more mobile services directed to children as well.
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