The parent company of an iOS app publisher called Broken Thumbs Apps has paid out $50,00 to settle a lawsuit filed by the FTC. The reason for the lawsuit – that the apps were violating the Children’s Online Protection Act – is worrying to say the least:
The FTC filed a lawsuit against W3 Innovations Friday, the parent company of Broken Thumbs Apps, for collecting the personal information of children in their apps. Broken Thumbs Apps have been downloaded more than 50,000 times in the iTunes App Store, and titles include Zombie Duck Hunt, Truth or Dare, and Emily’s Dress Up. Monday, the company settled with the FTC for $50,000.
The FTC’s complaint includes W3 storing more than 30,000 children’s (probably parent’s) emails and personal information on their servers. In one game, the company asked for the child’s name. In the game Emily’s Girl World, it gave children the opportunities to make comments on a related blog, which were stored on a server.
In addition to their settlement with the FTC, the company has also agreed to delete all of the children’s personal information from their servers – which seems like it would not be an optional part of any settlement anyway (I would’ve thought that was more important than the payout).
It’s good to see the parent company settled quickly in this case, but I know I will certainly still be avoiding apps from Broken Thumbs Apps in future. For me, this is a case of one strike and you’re out.