Disney Mobile Games – Apps Software & Collection of Children’s Personal Information Without Required Parental Consent

A federal class action lawsuit has been filed against The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., Disney Electronic Content, Inc., Upsight, Inc., Unity Technologies SF, and Kochava, Inc. for allegedly violating privacy protection laws by exporting children’s personal information from mobile games aimed at children to advertising networks without the parental consent required by federal and state law.

Gizmodo reported (“Lawsuit Claims Disney Spied on Kids Playing Mobile Games and Sold Info To Advertisers”) that

The Walt Disney Company is facing a lawsuit alleging it violated federal law aimed at protecting children’s online privacy. The company allegedly allowed ad tech companies to embed software in its apps, enabling the collection of children’s personal information.

The class-action suit claims that children playing Disney’s mobile games have been personally identified by Disney and that their data was scooped up for the purpose of future “commercial exploitation.” The complaint . . . was filed Thursday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Ad tech companies Upsight, Unity, and Kochava were also accused in the complaint as being responsible for embedding software in Disney’s games—including “Disney Princess Palace Pets”—aimed at tracking, collecting, and exporting children’s personal information. That data, the lawsuit alleges, is being sold to third-party party companies for the purpose of tracking individual children’s behavior “across multiple apps and devices.”

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – Allegedly Violated

Gizmodo also reported that

. . . Disney and its ad partners are accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a Federal Trade Commission regulation placing restrictions and requirements on websites and online services directed at children under 13 years of age. 

The [class action] complaint notes that Disney has been accused of violating COPPA in the past, including in 2011 when subsidiary Playdom Inc. paid a penalty for allegedly collecting and disclosing the personal information of hundreds of thousands of children without parental consent.

The ad tech Disney is said to have embedded in its gaming apps—known as “software development kits” or SDK—is described as having secretly collected the personal information of children using Disney’s apps for tracking their online behavior to “facilitate behavioral advertising or marketing analysis.” These “robust online profiles” include details such as a child’s geographical location, browsing history, and app usage, the suit alleges.

QR Code Press reported (“Disney mobile game lawsuit filed over data collection from children) that “[t]he [class action] lawsuit states that Disney violated the FTC’s regulations because the company allegedly used advertising technology that allegedly exposed kids’ private information to other parties.  The company’s mobile game apps collect personally identifying information about the children who play the games.”

Additionally, QR Code Press reported that the class action lawsuit “. . . was focused on the mobile game app called Disney Princess Palace Pets.”  However, according to QR Code Press, “. . . since the original focus, a number of other popular titles have also been included in the accusation.  Among the titles also includes Disney Crossy Road, Club Penguin Island and Where’s the Water.  The mobile games all allegedly use the same type of mobile ad tracking practices revealing kids’ data to third parties.”

Do You Suspect Child Privacy Violations Associated With Mobile Games & Apps?

If your child uses an Internet-based mobile game, such as Disney Princess Palace Pets, Disney Crossy Road, Club Penguin Island or Where’s the Water, and you suspect your child’s personal information may have been improperly or illegally acquired or used, please complete the form to the right or contact either John Kehoe, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 801, [email protected]; Michael Yarnoff, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 804, [email protected]; or send an e-mail to [email protected].

About Kehoe Law Firm, P.C.

The Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. is a multidisciplinary, plaintiff–side law firm dedicated to protecting investors and consumers from corporate fraud, negligence, and other wrongdoing. Driven by a strong and principled sense of social responsibility and obtaining justice for the aggrieved, Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. represents plaintiffs seeking to recover investment losses resulting from securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, corporate wrongdoing or malfeasance, those harmed by anticompetitive practices, and consumers victimized by fraud, negligence, false claims, deception, data breaches or whose rights to minimum wage and overtime compensation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour laws have been violated.