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Disney, Viacom Targets of Potential Class-Action Privacy Lawsuits

Disney and Viacom-owned Nickelodeon allegedly in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act with the use of illegal tracking methods in mobile games such as ‘Disney Princess Palace Pets’ and ‘Llama Spit Spit.’

Disney’s ‘Frozen Free Fall’ and other mobile games could employ tracking code in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

A San Francisco mother is suing Disney and Viacom for allegedly tracking her child’s personal information through free apps, according to reports by The Hollywood Reporter.

Amanda Rushing is suing The Walt Disney Company, Disney Electronic Content and others in a proposed class action lawsuit filed in California federal court on August 3rd claiming that her child -- referred to as “L.L.” -- was illegally tracked while using the Disney Princess Palace Pets app. The suit contends that dozens of other Disney games also track their users, including Club Penguin Island, Star Wars: Puzzle Droids, Frozen Free Fall and Disney Emoji Blitz.

Now Rushing is also suing Viacom and its partners for allegedly tracking her child’s personal information through the Nickelodeon gaming app Llama Spit Spit in a second California federal court filing made on August 7.

Rushing claims the mobile apps aimed at kids have advertising-specific software development kits surreptitiously embedded in their code, allowing Disney and Viacom to collect personal information and track online behavior, in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The suit contends that, in addition to Llama Spit Spit, Viacom is tracking users through other apps including PAW Patrol Pups to the Rescue, SpongeBob Bubble Party and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Portal Power.

Rushing’s attorney are seeking class certification with the class defined as: “all persons residing in the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia who are younger than the age of 13, or were younger than the age of 13 when they played the Game Tracking Apps, and their parents and/or legal guardians, from whom Defendants collected, used, or disclosed personal information without verifiable parental consent.”

App developers Upsight, Inc. and Unity Technologies are named in both suits as well, which THR says “could be an indication that any media company that has worked with the developers on its apps could be the next to be sued.” See the full complaints here and here.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.