Parents in California and New York have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their children alleging that the popular mobile app game Subway Surfers violates privacy protection laws by exporting their children’s personal information to advertising networks without obtaining required parental consent.
The suit is brought against the two Danish companies, Kiloo ApS and Sybo ApS, that developed Subways Surfers, a game directed to children under 13 years of age, which, with more than a billion downloads, is one of the most played games worldwide.
The suit also alleges that certain other Kiloo or Sybo game apps also violate privacy laws. The other games referenced in the complaint are Frisbee Forever, Frisbee Forever 2, Spellbinders, Smash Champs, Tesla Tubes, Storm Blades, and Blades of Brim.
Also named as defendants in the suit are the companies that embedded software in Subway Surfers to collect and export the children’s personal information. These defendant ad tech companies are AdColony, Chartboost, Flurry, Inc. and Altaba Inc., InMobi Inc. and InMobi Pte. Ltd, Ironsource Ltd. and Ironsource USA, Inc., Tapjoy, Inc. and Vungle, Inc. Plaintiffs allege that Kiloo and Sybo allowed ad tech companies to embed their tracking software into their gaming apps to collect, use, and disclose their children’s personal data in order to target them with advertisements.
What is COPPA?
In 1999, Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) to protect the safety and privacy of children online, and the autonomy of their parents, by providing parents the means to halt developers and third-party advertisers from snooping on and profiting from their children.
Many parents do not know that countless web and smartphone apps, including those created for children, are engineered to unlawfully exploit and commercialize underage users’ activity through hidden tracking technologies. As alleged in the complaint, these technologies unlawfully and surreptitiously collect and send data, including the users’ personal information, from the mobile device or tablet to third-parties. App developers and other third-parties then reap millions of dollars in profit from this personal information through lucrative targeted advertising.
The parents of the minor children brought the lawsuit seeking an injunction to force the defendants to cease tracking the personal information of children without obtaining parental consent and to bring defendants in compliance with the principles of COPPA and as required by state law. The parents also seek damages as may be permitted under some state laws.
Notice to Parents on Child Privacy Violations in Games and Apps
If your child uses an internet-connected game device and you suspect your child’s personal information may have been improperly acquired or used, you may contact us about your potential case. Our no-obligation review is free, and the information you provide will help us hold companies accountable for COPPA privacy violations or any other data improprieties that have occurred.
About Lieff Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser is committed to helping parents protect their children, their privacy, and their children’s information in a world where electronic toys and games and digital devices with inherent security vulnerabilities are growing more and more pervasive. Our lawyers possess extensive experience and the requisite technological background to successfully assess and litigate all manner of privacy claims. We represent individuals in precedent-setting cases impacting hundreds of millions of Americans against prominent technology, social media, and entertainment corporations for alleged violations of digital privacy rights, data overreaching, and the failure to protect critically-sensitive information.
About Carney Bates & Pulliam, PLLC
Carney Bates & Pulliam is a law firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas that specializes in class action litigation. From consumer protection to environmental hazards to civil rights to data privacy, Carney Bates & Pulliam achieves the maximum impact for the greatest number of people. The firm’s attorneys have a wide array of litigation experience and specialized legal knowledge. The diverse interests and backgrounds within the firm enable us to help clients across a vast spectrum. Carney Bates & Pulliam’s ability to analyze legal and societal trends means that our practice areas keep growing and evolving, changing to fit the needs of our clients.
Doug I. Cuthbertson
Nicholas R. Diamand
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP