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Tech Giants Apple, Google Remove 3 Dating Apps Targeting Kids

The FTC also issued a consumer alert for parents about the dating apps

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Apple, smartphone
Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, Aug. 1, 2018. VOA

Apple and Google have removed three dating apps from their online stores after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged the apps allowed kids as young as 12 to access them.

In a recent letter, the FTC warned Ukraine-based Wildec LLC, which operates the apps Meet24, FastMeet, and Meet4U, that the three dating apps appeared to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC Act.

“The apps have been removed from the app stores until they address the alleged violations outlined by the FTC,” the commission said on Monday.

The dating apps collected users’ birth dates, email addresses, photographs and real-time location data.

While the three apps claimed in their privacy policies to prohibit users under the age of 13, the apps failed to block users who indicated they were under 13 from using the apps and from being contacted by other users of the apps.

online privacy
FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

In its review of the apps, FTC staff found users who indicated they were as young as 12.

“Allowing adult users to communicate with children poses a serious health and safety risk. Several individuals have reportedly faced criminal charges for allegedly contacting or attempting to contact minors using Wildec’s apps,” said FTC.

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The FTC’s COPPA Rule requires companies collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 to post clear privacy policies and to notify parents and get their verifiable consent before collecting, using, or sharing personal information from a child.

The FTC also issued a consumer alert for parents about the dating apps. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Now Lets Users Order Food via Search, Maps, Assistant

Users can ask Google Assistant to repeat a previous order as well

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google
FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

Saving people the trouble of having to download an additional app, Google is now letting users order food directly via Search, Maps, or Assistant using its partnerships with delivery companies.

Google has added a new “Order Online” button on Search and Maps which would appear when users would search for a supported restaurant, The Verge reported on Thursday.

Users can pick between pickup and delivery and select which service they want to order their food through.

If the restaurant supports it, the ordering selections would be made entirely through Google’s interface and Google Pay.

App, swiggy, Uber eats
Delivery man Ujjwal Singhal working with the food delivery app Swiggy carries an order to a customer in New Delhi, India, Feb. 6, 2019. (Representational image). VOA

Users can ask Google Assistant to repeat a previous order as well.

However, it remains unclear whether or not the feature would work on Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers or smart displays.

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The new functionality supports five different delivery services at launch – DoorDash, Postmates, Delivery.com, Slice, and ChowNow – and Google plans to add support for Zuppler and others in the future, the report added.

Recently, the search-engine giant revamped the Search interface for mobile with a new design that would help mobile users better understand which information is coming from where and what are they looking for. (IANS)