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Child app rules worry developers

Developers of smartphone software are bracing for new US regulations that they say will stifle creativity and saddle small businesses with legal and technical costs.

The changes, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) expects to approve this week, would update a 14-year-old law prohibiting the collection of personal information from pre-teens.

Businesses say they fear that under the FTC proposal, routine transfers of data that pose no threat to a child's safety will be treated the same as the improper gathering of information. They say responsible software developers will err on the side of caution and the result will be less child-friendly content available on the Internet.

FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said "you have to give the benefit of the doubt to privacy" when it comes to children.

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