The Walt Disney Company is being sued because a number of its apps geared towards children have allegedly been collecting personal information that the company has been sharing with advertisers. The class action suit, brought forth by a California woman, claims that Disney and three software companies involved in the development of 42 youth-aimed apps have used software to track the apps’ users online activity, which was subsequently sold to advertisers without consent of the parents.
The lawsuit points to a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) — a 1999 law that requires parental consent before apps aimed at children under the age of 13 can collect personal data. Companies like Path, Yelp, Genesis Toys and even a Disney subsidiary have come under fire for violating COPPA laws.
In a statement Disney said, “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.”
The plaintiffs in the case are seeking actual and statutory damages and punitive damages, which will be determined at trial, along with all trial-associated costs. They’re also requesting an injunction of the practices and for the companies to sequester any illegally obtained data.