Play Store Is Filled With Android Apps Tracking Kids' Online Activity

Mindy Sparks
April 16, 2018

Improper data collection is now under the spotlight due to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In accordance with a recent survey of the Google Play Store Android apps, the online activities of children may be getting tracked by the number of apps in ways which prove to be a violation of the USA privacy laws.

Based on a sample of 5,855 children's apps, the study - a collective effort by a number of organisations including the University of British Columbia and the University of California - found that 73% of apps transmitted sensitive data over the internet and that 28% accessed sensitive data protected by Android permissions. Shackleford advised being more proactive, "To really get ahead of the problem, though, parents should use software like FamilyTime to help keep a closer eye on the apps their kids are using, and make sure that private browsers and extensions-like DuckDuckGo and Privacy Badger-are the norm". Although the survey took into account that simply collecting that data did not necessarily violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law limiting data collection on children under 13, "none of these apps attained verifiable parental consent" as necessary under the law as their automated tool was capable of activating them. 1,100 apps shared persistent identifiers that could be used for the behavioral advertising techniques that are banned for use on children by COPPA.


According to industry sources on Monday, Korea's FTC has begun surveying local mobile game companies to review whether they were pressured or asked by Google to either "launch their games only through specific app marketplaces", or to "not launch their games via other app marketplaces".

Unfortunately, the screenshot doesn't reveal the functionality included in the simple strip. Examining COPPA Compliance at Scale,” - that “seemingly” has revealed that, “Androids app store is home to thousands of apps that are improperly tracking.young children.”. Duolingo sends information to third parties, but claims that those parties are merely using it for bug fixing and app crashes, notes SlashGear.

A large number of free Android apps suffer with flaky security because software developers are leaving cryptographic keys embedded and passwords hard-coded. The researcher suggested that leaving passwords in the apps is lax behavior on the part of the developer, but some are better than others in muddying the practice.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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