Disney Is Being Sued For Collecting Personal Data From Young App Users

Children’s-entertainment giant Disney is facing a federal class action lawsuit filed in California for allegedly violating privacy protection laws, reports The Verge. The lawsuit states that the company is collecting children’s personal information from 42 of its apps and sharing the data with advertisers.

The lawsuit is blaming Disney and three other software companies: Unity, Upsight, and Kochava. It alleges that those companies created software designed to collect and embed personal data from its users; it’s also made to track an individual’s personal behavior online.

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The plaintiff in the case, Amanda Rushing of San Francisco, claims she had no idea her child “L.L.”’s data was being collected while playing Disney Princess Palace Pets. The data was then reportedly sold to other parties for ad-related purposes.

The suit states that this practice violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was established in 1999 and designed to protect children’s privacy online. COPPA orders that companies making apps for children under 13 must get consent from their parents to collect personal information from them.

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Disney responded to the lawsuit, stating: “Disney has a robust COPPA compliance program, and we maintain strict data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families. The complaint is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of COPPA principles, and we look forward to defending this action in court.”

This isn’t the first time Disney has been in hot water for seemingly violating COPPA. In 2011, the FTC imposed a $3 million civil penalty against Playdom after it illegally obtained and exposed personal information from a vast amount of kids under 13.

Some of the Disney apps include AvengersNet, Beauty and the Beast, Perfect Match, Cars Lightening League, Club Penguin Island, Color by Disney, Disney Color and Play, Disney Crossy Road, and Disney Dream Treats.