SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Federal officials have issued a report that has found that app developers are still not doing enough to protect the privacy of children.

The Federal Trade Commission said that little has changed since issuing a report in February titled “Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing.” That report pointed out that there was little or no privacy information available to parents in the Android Google Play and Apple iOS app stores prior to download and there is scarce data in the apps themselves or on the app vendors websites.

KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid:

In Monday’s follow-up report, “Mobile Apps for Kids Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade,” the FTC found that “little or no progress” had been made to remedy the situation.

FTC staff downloaded nearly 1,000 apps that had the keyword “kids” and then randomly selected 200 from the Apple App store and Google Play. The report found that only 20 percent disclosed any information about the app’s privacy practices and that nearly 60 percent surveyed are transmitting user information back to the developer or to an advertising network analytics company or other third party.

This comes as there has been a huge increase in the number of apps available in both the Apple and Google app stores in 2012.

Although there are no regulations on the immediate horizon, the FTC is urging the mobile app industry to develop “best practices” that incorporate privacy protections into the design of mobile products and services, offer parents easy-to-understand choices about the data collection and sharing through kids’ apps and provide greater transparency about how data is collected, used and shared through kids’ apps.

You can hear Larry Magid’s Tech Report Monday through Friday at 3:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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