Looking for On-line Privacy? Unfortunately, There’s No App for That

Nearly a year ago (February, 2012), staff at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report called Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing in which they found that little or no information on privacy practices or interactive features of mobile apps was made available to parents before those apps were downloaded from either the Apple or Android app stores. The results, as the title of the report indicate, were disappointing.

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Parental responsibility? Apparently there isn’t an app for that either.

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. A group of parents who can’t seem to take responsibility for their own behavior is suing Apple, alleging that iPhone and iPad apps are too addictive. According to court documents, Apples games are: “Highly addictive, designed deliberately to be so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of game currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more.”

Excuse me? Highly addictive? Compel children to purchase? Who owns the iPhone or iPad? Actually, a better question is who’s paying the bill? I hate to sound harsh, but if you authorize your child to make charges to your iTunes account–which is the way the vast majority of apps and their associated charges get billed–you’re on your own. What ever happened to just saying, “No”?

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