LOS ANGELES, Kalifornia (PNN) - August 9, 2017 - A class action lawsuit filed last week alleges Disney violated privacy protections laws by collecting personal information from children through a number of mobile apps and games and sharing it with advertisers without parental consent. The lawsuit is directed at Disney and three software developers: Upsight, Unity and Kochava. According to the complaint, those companies developed apps designed for children for Disney that could track and collect personal information and online behavior from users.
Forty-two apps are listed in the lawsuit, which was brought by a San Francisco woman named Amanda Rushing. According to her, she was unaware that the mobile game “Disney Princess Palace Pets” was collecting data from her child and selling that data to third-parties for targeted advertising.
Disney and the other defendants named in the lawsuit are accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Enacted by the Fascist Police States of Amerika Congress in 1999, the law was designed to protect the privacy of children online.
Under COPPA, apps designed for audiences of children age 13 or younger are required to get consent from parents or legal guardians before collecting any personally identifying information from the user.
A revised version of COPPA, passed by the FPSA Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2013, updated the definition of personal information to include geolocation data that could be used to track a user’s whereabouts and IP addresses. Under the updated version of COPPA, third-party companies must also comply with the rules and collect no personal information from users under 13 years of age.
Rushing is seeking an injunction that would bar Disney and its software partners from collecting and sharing data from the apps in question without parental consent. She is also asking for “appropriate relief, including actual and statutory damages and punitive damages,” as well as all costs related to the case.
“Disney has a robust COPPA compliance program, and we maintain strict data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families,” a company spokesman said in response to the lawsuit. “The complaint is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of COPPA principles, and we look forward to defending this action in court.”
While Disney holds that the case is the result of a misunderstanding of COPPA, the company itself has a history of incorrect interpretations of the rule. In 2011, the FTC found Disney subsidiary Playdom violated COPPA by collecting and disclosing personal information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent. The violation resulted in a $3 million fine against Playdom.
The full list of 42 apps named in the class action complaint are:
- Beauty and the Beast
- Cars Lightening League
- Club Penguin Island
- Color by Disney
- Disney Color and Play
- Disney Crossy Road
- Disney Dream Treats
- Disney Emoji Blitz
- Disney Gif
- Disney Jigsaw Puzzle!
- Disney LOL
- Disney Princess: Story Theater
- Disney Store Become
- Disney Story Central
- Disney Magic Timer
- Disney Princess: Charmed Adventures
- Dodo Pop
- Disney Build It Frozen
- DuckTales: Remastered
- Frozen Free Fall
- Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot
- Good Dinosaur Storybook Deluxe
- Inside Out Thought Bubbles
- Maleficent Free Fall
- Miles from Tomorrowland: Missions
- Moana Island Life
- Olaf's Adventures
- Palace Pets in Whisker Haven
- Perfect Match
- Sofia the First Color and Play
- Sofia the First Secret Library
- Star Wars: Puzzle DroidsTM
- Star WarsTM: Commander
- Temple Run: Oz
- Temple Run: Brave
- The Lion Guard
- Toy Story: Story Theater
- Where's My Mickey?
- Where’s My Water? (paid, lite, and free)
- Where's My Water? 2
- Zootopia Crime Files: Hidden Object