Tech Giants Charged with Tracking Children

Tech Giants Charged with Tracking Children

New Mexico’s attorney general, Hector Balderas, announced a lawsuit, filed against Google, Twitter, Tiny Lab Productions, MoPub, AerServ, InModi PTE, AppLovin and IronSource, on allegations that nearly 100 gaming apps targeting children contain illegal tracking software.

The apps, designed by Tiny Lab Productions, are marketed in the Google Play Store and are reported to collect personal data from children under 13 without first acquiring parent consent. Collecting the data give not only the defendants but also whoever they sell the data to the ability to track and profile children who can then be targeted for marketing purposes.

“These apps can track where children live, play, and go to school with incredible precision,” said Balderas. “These multi-million-dollar tech companies partnering with app developers are taking advantage of New Mexican children, and the unacceptable risk of data breach and access from third parties who seek to exploit and harm our children will not be tolerated in New Mexico.”

In total, 91 gaming apps are developed by Tiny Lab. Of all the apps, only five have not been a part of Google’s Designed for Families (DFF) program. Some of the apps include Angry Bunny Race: Jungle Road, Arctic Roads: Car Racing Game, DexLand, Dragon Fight: Boss Shooting Game, Dragon Panda Racing, Fun Kid Racing, Magic Elf Fantasy Forest Run and Pet Friends Park Racing.

As children gain more access to the internet both at home and in school, the games they download can pose unique risks to them, which has long been a concern for Balderas.  

“Parents should be aware of these risks and should know how to protect their children before purchasing an internet connected device for their children. Parents should be extremely selective of the apps they choose for their children,” Balderas’s office wrote in a press release.  

In addition to listing all 91 apps, the AG’s office included six pages with instructions on how to limit ad tracking across multiple devices.

Source: Information Security Magazine