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SpongeBob App Pulled After Complaints

Privacy concerns cited in FTC complaint


A children’s app, SpongeBob Diner Dash, has been removed from the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store on privacy concerns.

The Center for Digital Democracy, an advocacy group, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that the app — a remake of the popular Diner Dash with a SpongeBob SquarePants branding — collected personal information from children without first obtaining parental permission, The New York Times reports.

The complaint asks the FTC to investigate possible deceptive marketing practices by the developer, PlayFirst, and Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB), which owns Nickelodeon, the channel on which the SpongeBob SquarePants TV show appears.

A Nickelodeon spokesman told the NYT that the game was removed from the app store as a temporary measure while the company investigated the complaint.

The 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires that all company’s attempting to gather personal information from children under 13 to get parents’ explicit permission. However, a research report by the FTC states that most apps fails to do so in a proper manner.

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