The Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) Privacy Sweep, a project to investigate websites and apps targeted at children, has raised concerns over children's privacy. The project considered 1,494 websites and apps popular amongst children, with a particular focus on how much personal information was collected and how this was subsequently shared with third parties.
Of the 1,494 websites and apps reviews, the Project raised concerns about 41%. Some of the findings of the Project included the fact that 67% of sites and apps examined and collected children's personal information whereas half shared personal information with third parties. In addition, just 31% of sites and apps had put in place effective controls in order to limit the collection of personal information from children. Despite such sites and apps clearly being popular with children, the organisations behind the sites and apps have claimed in their privacy notices that they were not intended for children. Resultantly they have not implemented any further controls which would protect against the collection of personal data from their child users.
Further findings of the Project were that 22% of the sites and apps provided children with an opportunity to give their phone number, while 23% allowed them to provide photos or video. This is an area of concern given the potential sensitivity of such data. Only 24% of sites and apps encouraged parental involvement.
While the focus of the project was on privacy practices, concerns were also noted around the inappropriate nature of some of the adverts broadcast on websites and apps aimed at children.