SpongeBob kicked out of the Apple App Store for being naughty

SpongeBob kicked out of the Apple App Store for being naughty
The kiddy-oriented game SpongeBob Diner Dash has been temporarily removed from the Apple App Store. And no, it wasn't taken down because of not being appropriate for children or anything like that. It is a colorful, fun, perfectly normal video game. However, the Center for Digital Democracy – a Washington-based nonprofit advocacy group, has discovered that the seemingly innocent piece of software may be violating its users' privacy. 

Here is how it all breaks down: SpongeBob Diner Dash collects the player's email address in order to send them promotional offers and other related advertisements. Although no other personal information, such as name, phone number, or home address, is being obtained, the game could still be in violation of privacy laws. That is because it is clearly meant for children (although we suppose adults might play it too), given the theme and characters featured in the title. But according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), operators of web sites targeting kids under 13 years of age must obtain a parent's permission before collecting their child's personal data, including their email address. The law is meant to give parents more control in case there is a possibility of their kids being targeted by advertisers. The game does not obtain such permission, nor does it try to inform a parent of its data collection policies.

Of course, Nickelodeon and the game's developer PlayFirst might argue that SpongeBob Diner Dash is meant to be played by gamers of all ages. And since the aforementioned act only protects kids aged 13 and under, it could mean that the game does not really violate COPPA. The complaint is currently being investigated and it will surely be interesting to see the outcome. After all, we get so obsessed with our own privacy sometimes that we forget about the rights of youngsters. Anyone who thinks that targeting kids with ads in such a manner isn't okay is free to drop a line in the comments!

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8 Comments

1. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Apple? enjoy fascism and deciding instead of you, it is your vote do you still feel special or like a baby who must be taken care of? :)

3. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

or just a poor security which proposes to everyone your email address? :-O both....

6. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

See any OS has their share of issues, be it Apple, Android or anyone for that matter. This is just one of many. If there are apps in the world, there will always be issues. We have to take the good with the bad, WITH any OS.

7. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

With iOS you have less issues but outdated security like less crimes during fascism :-)

9. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

As much as I dont like Apple, I dont think this is Apple being Apple. Reading the article, its more about the app being iffly than Apple being anal. Its not in the Google Store either. I dont know if it ever was tho. I agree with the article writer, I mean how can one even know if its downloaded and played by kids? How about I have kids and they download games like racing games? How can we say what age a racing game is geared towards?

2. wendygarett unregistered

I never thought Apple can approve this privacy problem apps... bad spongebob lol

5. squeeb

Posts: 99; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

lol..

8. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

No, not Sponge Bob! LOL...

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