Lawsuit renews focus on privacy policies for mobile apps

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Researchers have warned that many popular free mobile apps aimed at children are potentially violating a U.S. law designed to protect the privacy of young users.

Some brushed off the findings, but a federal lawsuit filed this week by New Mexico's top prosecutor is renewing focus on the public's growing concerns about whether information on online interests, browsing and buying habits are slipping into the hands of data brokers without their consent.

Serge Egelman, a member of the research team based at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley says there's no easy way even for a fairly savvy user to figure out whether an app is collecting location data and other personal information.

The institute has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to continue analyzing apps and expanding a database that parents can search for more information.