Two advocacy groups on Wednesday called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission FTC to investigate whether apps that Googles Play Store labels as Teacher approved are unlawfully collecting personal data without parental consent to target ads at children.
The Campaign for a CommercialFree Childhood CCFC and the Center for Digital Democracy CDD, which have helped spur FTC action before, cited among other evidence reports from three separate research groups since last June that concluded Play Store apps aimed at children quietly transmitted data about individual users to other companies.
Alphabet Incs Google said in response to Wednesdays complaint that its app store is committed to providing a positive and safe environment for children and families and that it will continue to make the protection of children on our platform a priority.
Googles Play Store is the default option for downloading apps on nearly every Android smartphone and tablet in the United States. To address concerns from parents about kidsafe apps, Google markets some as meant for families and even Teacher approved.
The company last year said it derives labels by asking teachers across the country to rate apps on factors like age appropriateness, quality of experience, enrichment, and delight.
In a complaint filed to the FTC on Wednesday, the advocacy groups contend Googles labeling is deceptive because some apps are violating the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.
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