It seems like Disney’s apps may be spying on children. According to a report by the Washington Post, a lawsuit has been filed against the company, which alleges that 42 apps by the company collect personal information of children without parental consent. The class action lawsuit targets Disney as well as three other software companies, namely Upsight, Unity and Kochava. The lawsuit is filed in the US District Court for the District of Northern California and seeks an injunction to barr the companies from collecting or disclosing data without parental consent, as well as punitive damages and legal fees.
The lawsuit alleges that the apps created by these companies gather insights about users, including those under the age of 13 in ways that facilitate “commercial exploitation.” It is argued that this violates that Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This act is aimed at protecting the privacy of children online by requiring parental consent of children under the age of 13, before it collecting personal information. It is alleged that trackers in apps like 'Disney Princess Palace Pets’ and ‘Where’s My Water? 2’ can “exfiltrate that information off the smart device for advertising and other commercial purposes.”
Disney intends to defend itself 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.”
Disney recently announced that it was ending its distribution deal with Netflix and launch its own streaming service in 2019. Netflix secured the rights for Disney's films back in 2012. Disney own the rights to many popular movies including the Star Wars series.