AG Balderas Announces Lawsuit Against Tech Giants Who Illegally Monitor Child Location, Personal Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2018

Contact: David Carl (505) 288-2465

Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas, sued a group of tech companies
for illegally tracking children online. The suit, filed against Google, Twitter, Tiny Lab
Producions, MoPub, AerServ, InMobi PTE, AppLovin and IronSource, alleges the apps designed
by Tiny Lab Productions and marketed by Google in its Play Store are targeted at children and
contain illegal tracking software. Federal law makes it illegal to collect personal data from
children under 13 without parental consent. This illegal data collection allows Defendants, and
whoever they sell this data to, to track, profile, and target millions of children nationwide.
“These apps can track where children live, play, and go to school with incredible precision,” said
Attorney General Hector Balderas. “These multi-million-dollar tech companies partnering with
app developers are taking advantage of New Mexican children, and the unacceptable risk of data
breach and access from third parties who seek to exploit and harm our children will not be
tolerated in New Mexico.”
The Attorney General’s Office has a long history of protecting children from online dangers such
as online predators and child exploitation, and this lawsuit seeks to prevent those types of crimes
before they happen. Once data about a child has been illegally collected and stored, that data is
now accessible not only to advertisers seeking to make money but also to those looking to harm
children. Data breaches are an ever-present risk, and collecting information about children that
allows a person to track their movements creates a risk that this data will fall into the wrong
hands or wind up on the dark web.
As technology advances, more and more children are gaining access to the internet and the
internet of things. These games, downloaded from the internet and connected to the internet
during and sometimes even after play, pose a unique risk to children. Parents should be aware of
these risks and should know how to protect their children before purchasing an internet
connected device for their children. Parents should be extremely selective of the apps they
choose for their children. Other than eliminating app or device use, there is no 100% effective
way to protect against this type of data collection. In addition to being selective about apps they
download, here are some tips for limiting a child’s exposure.
• Limit the time your child spends on the device and make sure apps are fully closed
when they are done being played.
• Limit ad tracking via settings and reset advertising identifiers. Set a weekly time to
check the settings on your child’s device to make sure nothing has changed.
• Use apps that are not ad-supported.
• Put device in airplane mode.
See attached for a list of apps identified in our complaint. Also click here for a step-by-step
guide on how to follow our tips.

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