FTC issues amendments to COPPA that could affect mobile gaming
Earlier this month, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a U.S. agency committed to promoting consumer protection, issued a call to the mobile applications industry to bolster their security measures for applications that are designed for children. Mobile gaming application are rampantly popular among children, and the FTC believes that the majority of these applications do not have adequate security measures in place to protect the information of consumers. The agency has released amendments to the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) this week detailing some of the changes that must be made to mobile gaming and the applications business in general.
Developers banned from collecting information from children
According to the COPPA amendments, mobile gaming applications are completely forbidden from collecting personal data from users that are under the age of 13. Developers will have to received parental consent in order to obtain this information. The ban keeps mobile gaming applications from collecting geographic information as well in an attempt to provide young consumers with another layer of protection. Geographic information is often used in marketing to target specific demographics.
Developers tasked with securing personal information
The changes to the COPPA law also close a loophole that allowed applications to collect a wide assortment of information from consumers. These applications often use third party solutions to acquire personal information from users. The FTC notes that developers and applications providers will need to take reasonable steps in securing the protection of a child’s personal information and ensure that this information is kept confidential.
COPPA changes may be difficult to comply with due to consumer honesty
Changes to COPPA may have an impact on the mobile gaming sector, but app developers are likely to adapt well to the changes. There are concerns that children often use mobile applications without the consent of their parents. Protecting the information of young consumers is largely linked to the honesty of these consumers, which can be a problematic issue as young consumers tend to bend the truth in order to gain access to applications that may not be suitable for their age group.