Disney and advertising technology companies agree to privacy changes for children’s apps.

Disney and advertising technology companies agree to privacy changes for children’s apps.

Amid legal settlements that could reshape the market for children’s apps, Disney, Viacom and 10 ad technology companies have agreed to remove certain adware from children’s apps in order to respond to the privacy breach charges of millions of people. youth.

The agreements resolve three related class action cases involving some of the biggest ad technology companies – including Twitter’s MoPub – and some of the most popular children’s apps – including “Subway surfers”, an animated game from Denmark that users around the world have installed more than 1.5 billion times, according to Sensor Tower, an app research company.

The lawsuits accused the companies of placing tracking software in popular children’s game apps without parental knowledge or parental consent, in violation of state laws on privacy and fair business practices. These trackers can be used to profile children on apps and devices, target them with ads, and trick them into making in-app purchases, according to legal documents in the case.

Now under the approved regulations On Monday, by a U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of California, the companies agreed to remove or disable tracking software that could be used to target children with ads. Developers will still be able to display pop-up ads based on an app’s content.

“This will be the biggest change we’ve seen in the children’s app market and when it comes to business models,” said Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based nonprofit. . “Out of thousands of apps, children will no longer be targeted by the most insidious and manipulative forms of marketing.”

The companies involved in the class actions have not admitted any wrongdoing.

Regulations come as Federal Trade Commission scrambles to protect children’s privacy cases against individual developers and advertising technology companies. But children’s advocates said the class action cases, which involved a larger portion of the ad technology and apps market, could lead to industry-wide changes for youth apps and ads. .

Viacom, whose regulations cover one of its children’s apps, called “Lama Spit Spit,And Twitter declined to comment. Disney, whose settlement agreement covers its children’s apps in the United States, and Kiloo, a Danish company that co-developed “Subway Surfers,” did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

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