DoD Pulls Software Collecting Data on Children

Whoops! The Department of Defense was forced to pull a parental control product from its online store because the software collected and sold private data--information on children specifically--on behalf of the developer. The DoD's online store serves military families, but was unaware that Echometrix's FamilySafe parental control software violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act when it went on sale in September.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint (PDF) to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the DoD, reporting that the software collects personal information from children and provides the data to third parties "for market intelligence purposes."

According to CNET, Echometrix is denying the allegations. "During the installation process we fully disclose all of Family Safe's procedures and clearly display an opt-out button for all anonymous aggregate data sharing in our (EULA) End User License Agreement," the company said in an email.

But Kimberly Nguyen, the EPIC lawyer who is handling the case, isn't buying the excuse. She said that the software collects data containing IM screen names that can be linked to e-mail addresses among other sensitive information. "The collection of children's data raises serious privacy concerns, and even the Defense Department realizes that," Nguyen said.

Get more tech and gaming news by hitting me up on Twitter here.

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
12 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • ssalim
    Bad developers, sit on the corner.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • ssalim
    Bad developers, sit on the corner.
    13
  • skit75
    "The collection of AAFES customer information (personal or otherwise) for any other purpose than to provide quality customer service is prohibited" by the agreement retailers sign to sell products through the AAFES site...

    Under this agreement, I would say including the extra spyware as an opt-in check box would be "ballsy" but, to include the spyware in the installation and use an opt-out check box is really asking for trouble IMO under those pre-existing terms.
    0
  • doc70
    Not unexpected from DoD. I have mentioned several times on this forum the natural "inclination" of the govt. to collect data on it's citizens, most of the time when they're completely unaware of that.
    DoD collects the data to mine for potential future soldiers and this is only one way of doing that. How, for instance, do you explain that when your kid is at high-school age you suddenly start receiving adds from the Army, etc., when they weren't invited at the birthday party?

    "During the installation process we fully disclose all of Family Safe's procedures and clearly display an opt-out button for all anonymous aggregate data sharing
    in our (EULA) End User License Agreement," the company said in an email."

    How many people fully - or even partially - read EULA's? Hiding behind that EULA is bull$hit and I hope they get hammered for that.

    But, who cares? It's only money out of our pockets that get spent on all that...
    -6