RAY SUAREZ: Finally tonight: new worries over the mobile apps kids are using, and what the apps disclose about their users.
It seems like everyone has them, the ubiquitous applications, apps, for short, on smartphones and tablets, including everything from instructive or educational materials to games.
Children of all ages, armed with these devices, are using apps and raising concerns over privacy.
The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating whether companies that make apps are violating the privacy rights of children by collecting personal data from mobile devices and sharing it with advertisers and databanks. These types of apps can detail a child's physical location or phone numbers of their friends, along with other information.
Yesterday, the FTC issued a new report documenting those concerns. It found, among 400 apps designed for kids, most failed to inform parents about the types of data that could be gathered and who would access it.
Mark Frauenfelder is the co-editor of the collaborative Web blog Boing Boing and a father who uses and closely watches apps for kids. We talked via laptop.
MARK FRAUENFELDER, Boing Boing: Your phone as a unique I.D., and so that I.D. could be passed to third-party ad networks that are advertising on other apps. So they can kind of follow you from app to app and build a file on the kinds of things that you're doing. It can also collect your phone number.
And one thing that I think is -- causes a lot of concern is that it can also track your geolocation data, if you give it permission to do so. So it knows where you are when you're using the app.
So that kind of information certainly can be abused, if not by the app developer, by someone getting into the database who shouldn't be getting into the database and having -- getting access to it.
RAY SUAREZ: A recent study by the PewResearchCenter shows parents are increasingly concerned as well; 81 percent of parents of online teens say they're concerned about how much information advertisers can find out about their child's online behavior; 46 percent said they were very concerned.
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