Although society is obviously fortunate to have tons of mobile apps, devices, and widespread sources of high-speed Internet as its disposal, one of the largest drawbacks of such a privilege is that tech companies widely collect data on their users. Most of them claim that they don’t put names, faces, and personal information to users’ pages in their banks of advertising information.
Some apps, including Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, have even gone as far as tracking children’s each and every move to build profiles that are useful to advertisers and marketers to later sell them such profiles.
Although there’s no way to know precisely how many tech companies source data from users as young as 12 years of age, three of them were recently taken off of Google’s and Apple’s app stores for tracking such information.
Wildec LLC, a mobile app development and tech company based in Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe that borders Russia, was the recent recipient of news regarding the removal of three of its apps from Google’s and Apple’s stores.
The three apps, named Meet4U, Meet24, and FastMeet, were undeniably found by both Google and Apple to routinely save advertising and personal information about its thousands of young users.
Wildec LLC has long touted that its mobile apps do not collect information on users younger than 13 years of age, though, according to the Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, Wildec LLC’s three aforementioned apps were proven to have collected and sourced data from kids as young as 12.
According to existing United States federal law, parents must verifiably offer up their consent for their children to share their browsing information with apps, websites, programs, and platforms before any of them do so. Currently, the associate director of the Federal Trade Commission’s agency, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, named Maneesha Mithal, believes that the company did, in fact, violate the rules of the United States federal government.
Regulators who researched the extent of the data sourcing found that the 12-year-old users and children of other ages were able to sort through users’ profiles based on things such as location and age. They were, as a matter of fact, able to find people who are online and just a few miles away from their research centers who were between the ages of 12 and 18.