Apple Bans Behavioral Targeting In Apps For Children

Apple is telling developers that they can no longer use behavioral targeting techniques to monetize apps aimed at children under 13. The company also is informing developers that childrens' apps must now include privacy policies.

The revised policies, which were set out on Wednesday in an update to Apple's guidelines for developers, appear to have been sparked by the Federal Trade Commission's new rules implementing the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which took effect last month. The new COPPA regulations prohibit Web site operators from collecting the type of data that can be used to create behavioral profiles, unless the operators obtain parental consent.

Apple's new rule appears to be more restrictive, given that it bans the use of behavioral targeting in all apps aimed at children, regardless of whether parents consent to the techniques. Apple's new guidelines define behavioral advertising as serving ads based on a user's activity within an app.

The company also says that all contextual ads in apps designed for children must be “appropriate for kids.” Apple's new guidelines also provide that apps designed for children under 13 must get parental permission before allowing users to “engage in commerce” -- such as by making an in-app purchase.

The company also says that if apps are able to share users' personal information -- including names, photos, drawings and persistent identifiers -- the apps must comply with all laws.

COPPA itself prohibits Web site operators from knowingly collecting “personal data” from children under 13 without their parents' consent.

The FTC's new rules broadly define “personal information” as including data used by ad networks to create behavioral profiles, including persistent cookies and mobile device identifiers. The new definition also includes IP addresses, geolocation data and photos of children



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