Disney has been sued. A lawsuit filed against the Walt Disney Company alleges that several dozen of its smartphone apps are illegally tracking and spying on children.
A new report claims that the Walt Disney Company (or simply “Disney”) is facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly dishonoring the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, that is governed by the Federal Trade Commission. The “privacy” law was created in 1998 and ratified by Congress two years later.
“The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives parents control over what information websites can collect from their kids. The COPPA Rule — with new provisions in effect on July 1, 2013 — puts additional protections in place and streamlines other procedures that companies covered by the rule need to follow. If you run a website designed for kids or have a website geared to a general audience, but collect information from someone you know is under 13, you must comply with COPPA’s requirements.”
The lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company charges that the entertainment giant’s approved apps contain tracking technology. As a consequence, Disney has the ability to collect personal information from a user such as their geographical location and internet browsing history. In turn, the information is often sold to third party entities for use in ad targeting, according to ATT News.
The plaintiff, Amanda Rushing, of California, sued Disney on Aug. 3 in a San Francisco federal court. In addition to alleged breaches of privacy, the lawsuit claims that Disney and its affiliates failed to obtain proper legal consent from parents before they used the apps to target children for personalized advertising.
Disney responded to the pending class action lawsuit by defending its company practices, saying that it has not violated any COPPA rules or laws. Disney maintains that it has a “robust” COPPA program that supports compliance and takes the privacy of all its users — especially that of children — very seriously.
On why it thinks Rushing and others filed a lawsuit against it, Disney claims that it’s a matter of misunderstanding and failure to internalize the full scope of COPPA. It looks forward to having its day in court on the merits of the civil proceedings.
The apps in question that are purportedly spying on and tracking children are available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Altogether, they have been downloaded as many as half a billion times.
According to court documents, the complete list of apps that are included in the lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company appears below.
- Beauty and the Beast
- Perfect Match
- Cars Lightning League
- Club Penguin Island
- Color by Disney
- Disney Color and Play
- Disney Crossy Road
- Disney Dream Treats
- Disney Emoji Blitz
- Disney Gif
- Disney Jigsaw Puzzle!
- Disney LOL
- Disney Princess: Story Theater
- Disney Store Become
- Disney Story Central
- Disney’s Magic Timer by Oral-B
- Disney Princess: Charmed Adventures
- Dodo Pop
- Disney Build It Frozen
- DuckTales: Remastered
- Frozen Free Fall
- Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot
- Good Dinosaur Storybook Deluxe
- Inside Out Thought Bubbles
- Maleficent Free Fall
- Miles from Tomorrowland: Missions
- Moana Island Life
- Olaf’s Adventures
- Palace Pets in Whisker Haven
- Sofia the First Color and Play
- Sofia the First Secret Library
- Star Wars: Puzzle Droids
- Star Wars: Commander
- Temple Run: Oz
- Temple Run: Brave
- The Lion Guard
- Toy Story: Story Theater
- Where’s My Water?
- Where’s My Mickey?
- Where’s My Water? 2
- Where’s My Water? Lite/Where’s My Water? Free
- Zootopia Crime Files: Hidden Object
In other unrelated Disney news, the media company announced a shake-up of its media portfolio. On Tuesday, the company said it plans to remove Disney and Pixar assets from Netflix, beginning in 2019, to make way for its own video streaming service. The company’s CEO and Chairman, Robert A. Iger, said the move is designed to increase shareholder value over the long term.
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[Featured Image by MIA Studio/Shutter Stock]