© Provided by kathimerini.gr Children playing games on the Internet, appropriate for their age, are unwittingly targeting advertising companies
The law that protects the privacy of minors violated online advertising companies, a property of “Google” and “Twitter ‘, according to a complaint report lodged judge of the US state “New Mexico”.
The lawsuit was filed following complaints by parents who found that seemingly childless games collected personal data, such as the exact location of the user, which they forwarded to online advertising companies. On Tuesday night, the New Mexico Public Prosecutor’s Office filed a lawsuit stating that the creators of the “Fun Kid Racing” game had violated federal law protecting children’s personal lives.
Justice claims that designers of this application, as well as online advertising companies controlled by “Google” and “Twitter”, are violating the law. Analysis of the “New York Times” found that other childcare applications are collecting children’s personal data.
Although the federal legislation does not deal extensively with adult protection on the Internet, US lawmakers have taken care of protecting minors under 13 years of age. The relevant law does not allow companies to record the geographical location of minors to promote advertisements. Game sites are not allowed to collect data for young players unless they have previously secured their parents’ permission.
They ignore the law
The lawsuit in “New Mexico”, however, reveals that many companies choose to ignore the law by collecting email addresses, names, geo-location data, and user’s cookies.
“These companies, while at the cutting edge of technology, choose not to protect children”,
says New Mexico’s Attorney General, Hector Balderas.
The former head of consumer protection in the “Federal Trade Commission”, Jessica Rice, agrees:
“Safe spaces for children in on-line stores are not so safe, finally.”
His surprise is expressed in the meantime by the Lithuanian founder of “Tiny Lab”, Jonas Avromaitis, saying he was sure that his company was faithfully following all the rules.
In 2013, Apple introduced a “children’s department” into its online store, asking designers not to collect user data.
But “New Mexico’s” prosecution is different, as it is not only against small corporations that have violated the rules, with clear accountability to giants such as Google and Twitter.
“Google knows that these companies are illegally watching children’s digital activity while falsely stating on their page that these applications are safe for children”,
says the lawsuit.
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