The U.S. Federal Trade Commission isn't relinquishing its eagle eye on the mobile app industry. It's a process that MMi has been covering since the start in February 2011.
At that time, U.S. Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) reached out to the FTC for the first time in order to question Apple's marketing practices of applications for Apple devices, particularly with regard to apps aimed at children. The Federal Trade Commission promptly responded, promising to probe Apple's business practices relating to the concerns expressed.
"We fully share your concern that consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz wrote at the time.
And this week, the probe continues.
On Monday, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission published a fresh report exploring how apps are aimed at kids both in iOS and Android app stores. So what did the FTC find? Perhaps the title of the report says all you need to know: "Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade."
Staff examined hundreds of apps for children and looked at disclosers and links on each app’s promotion page in the app store, on the app developer’s website, and within the app. According to the report, “most apps failed to provide any information about the data collected through the app, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose of the collection, and who would obtain access to the data. Even more troubling, the results showed that many of the apps shared certain information with third parties – such as device ID, geolocation, or phone number – without disclosing that fact to parents. Further, a number of apps contained interactive features – such as advertising, the ability to make in-app purchases, and links to social media – without disclosing these features to parents prior to download.”
Put differently, the use of the word "relentlessly" in this article's headline is probably an understatement.
Source: FTC (via AP)