Thousands of Android apps potentially violate child protection law

Share

Just one week after YouTube has been accused of violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), another Google-owned company is under fire for the very same thing. But the authors contest that the sheer number of apps with tracking works indicated that non-compliance was widespread and that their sample was big enough to be representative of the wider app economy.

Concerns regarding data privacy have come into sharp focus after Cambridge Analytica was found to have used millions of user data sourced from Facebook and other apps using Facebook login.

According to the findings of a new study, 3,337 Android apps geared toward kids and families are improperly collecting data on children, and all of them are now available on the Google Play Store.

While the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) has yet to receive reports from users here of fake mobile apps containing malicious codes, the deputy director of its National Cyber Incident Response Centre, Mr Douglas Mun, urges users to exercise caution when downloading apps. The study, however claims, that two-thirds of children's apps don't allow people to reset that data.

However, they "do not mean to show definitive legal liability, nor do we offer legal advice", and rather just want to highlight "potential COPPA rule violations".

Up to 235 apps were accessing the phone's Global Positioning System data - 184 of which transmitted the device's location to advertisers, according to the study. Kids who download game or language apps face an even tougher time understanding what they are giving up in exchange.

More news: Police arrest 12 'Offa robbers', recover phones, iPads
More news: Real Madrid chief Butragueno: We want Isco to stay
More news: S.Korea lists agenda for summit with North

All the apps analyzed in their study are part of the Google Play Store "Designed for Families" (DFF) program, a section of the Play Store that lists only apps that developers say are COPPA compliant, so at least in theory, these apps should not have had any violations. Sadly, reports indicate misuse of the collected data and thus causes a line of disagreements within parties of the Google Play system.

The image also displays a back button beside the bar.

Google possibly has trouble with maintaining their privacy terms as a significant portion of their applications directed towards children compromise them.

Google has yet to comment on the latest issues, however it is taking more initiative on controlling its Play Store, which will hopefully ensure the safety of children moving forward.

This not only includes name, usernames, and emails, but also geo-location data, IP addresses, and other identity markers that could be used to track children online and link them to advertising IDs.

It connects your device to an offsite secure server and uses an encrypted connection to keep your data safe on that connection.

Share