Disney accused of tracking kids through its apps, gets sued

Andy Boxall

In App Development

August 10, 2017

The Walt Disney Company is being sued in the United States for allegedly collecting data without permission, through apps aimed at children, and illegally selling it afterwards. Also named on the lawsuit are three software companies — Unity, Kochava, and Upsight.

In the class action suit, the companies are accused of collecting private and personal data from 42 apps, then selling it on to ad targeting firms without parental consent. This is against the rules laid out in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, as the apps are all designed to appeal to children.

Many of the apps included in the lawsuit are big hits. Where’s my Water 2 is one such title, with as many as 500 million downloads, and others based on huge franchises such as The Avengers, Star Wars, Toy Story, and Frozen.

Disney disagrees with the accusations, saying it complies with COPPA’s rules, and the lawsuit is the result of the principles being misunderstood by those filing the complaint. An injunction is being sought, stopping Disney from collecting the data, along with damages and fees.