A San Francisco, California woman has filed a lawsuit accusing the Walt Disney Corporation of illegally tracking children while they play on popular online apps.
Amanda Rushing filed the lawsuit on behalf of her own child, accusing Disney of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The suit is a proposed class action suit and claims that Rushing’s child was illegally tracked while using the Disney Princess Palace Pets app.
The lawsuit, filed in California Federal Court, alleges that the app contains an ad-specific software kit embedded in the code, which allows Disney to collect personal information and track online behavior. The suit further alleges that Disney then sells the information to third-parties who specialize in target marketing.
It is alleged that the code is used in other Disney games including, “Cars Lightning League”, “Disney Build It”, “Frozen”, and others. Of course this is not unusual behavior for most companies in the internet age, however, Rushing’s attorney maintains that the Act was brought to prevent such behavior where children are concerned.
“Disney has failed to safeguard children’s personal information and ensure that third-parties’ collection of data from children is lawful,” attorney, Michael Sobol said.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act places restrictions on online sites directed at children under the age of 13. It provides parents the legal recourse to halt developers and third-party advertisers from spying on and profiting from their children.
As a company who has long profited from children, Disney needs to make sure that its games and apps comply with the law. They, and the companies they work with, must, by law, obtain verifiable parental consent before extracting children’s data from their mobile devices when children play Disney’s mobile apps.
What do you think? Is Disney being responsible and following the law? And does Ms. Rushing have a case?
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