Spongebob Diner Dash, a popular kids game for iOS, was recently pulled from the App Store due to a privacy claim from the Center for Digital Democracy. The group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Viacom, the company who owns airs Spongebob via Nickelodeon, and PlayFirst, the company who developed the app. The Center for Digital Democracy claimed that the application asked children for their email address and other information without first getting their parent’s approval. This violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. Nickelodeon pulled Spongebob Diner Dash from the App Store in order to investigate the complaints.
If you’re unaware, Spongebob Diner Dash is a skinned version of the extremely popular Diner Dash. Diner Dash was originally a Flash game which has since been ported to iOS and other platforms. The game’s objective is to take and deliver food orders at a restaurant, a theme which can easily amuse younger crowds when skinned with a popular cartoon character. Because of this, it will be hard for Viacom to use the “it’s marketed towards older audiences” excuse which is often used amongst game developers in this situation.
Source: The New York Times