In legal transactions that could transform the children’s apps market, Disney, Viacom, and ten ad technology companies have agreed to remove adware from their children’s apps in response to millions of allegations of millions of violations of youth privacy.
The deal closes three collective action cases involving major ad technology companies – including Twitter’s MoPub – and some of the most popular apps for kids – including ‘Subway Surfers’, an animated game from Denmark that has installed users around the world. According to Sensor Tower, an applied research firm, that’s more than 1.5 billion times.
The lawsuits accused companies of putting tracking software in popular children’s games without parental consent, in violation of privacy and fair trade laws. These trackers can be used to profile children on apps and devices, target them with ads, and request them to make in-app purchases, according to the relevant legal documents.
According to deals approved Monday by a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the companies agreed to remove or eliminate tracking software that could be used to target ads to children.