Over 3000 Android apps tracking children per new study

Over 3000 Android apps tracking children per new study
We have written about the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) before. A new automated study found over 3,300 apps on the Google Play Store that exhibit behavior which could violate COPPA. Some my ask why the Play store is mentioned but not the App Store. It appears that the information for Apple's marketplace is more limited and was outside the scope of this study. In any case, the law in question requires parental consent before collecting certain bits of information on children. This act mostly pertains to sites or apps that have content directed towards children. If it is reasonable to believe that children make up part of the target audience for certain content, then COPPA probably applies. 

What did the privacy study find? 


The company analyzed 5,855 of the most popular apps geared towards families and children. It determined that over 3,300 apps exhibited behavior that is considered at risk of violating COPPA. 281 of those apps clearly violate the law and collect identifying information about children without parental consent. Over 2,000 of the apps violated Google's service terms regarding sharing identifiers and over 1,000 did so for otherwise restricted purposes. There were also apps that tie into social media, including Facebook, which did not comply with the media giant's rules regarding children under the age of 13. Perhaps the most shocking findings regarded data transmission. Forty percent of the apps tested did not use any sort of security while transmitting the data collected. Although this study shed light on the large amount of ground left to cover regarding compliance with child privacy laws in a digital age; the researchers were quick to point out that this study does not determine legal liability. The FTC and the courts are responsible for that. 

source: PoPET via Engadget

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17 Comments

1. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

That's disgusting.

10. Klinton

Posts: 1407; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Why? Don't you want all the kids to become the next new ultra-libs generation..... with far-left-progressive morality??/s How this could happen without controlling them?

12. kiko007

Posts: 7379; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Wtf are you even talking about my guy?

14. SIGPRO

Posts: 2806; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

You are a sick person!

2. RevolutionA

Posts: 360; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

That is why we all need to use secure products like Apple as I say always for your own benefit instead of any crappy Chinese handsets...

4. matistight

Posts: 870; Member since: May 13, 2009

Apple iPhones are Chinese made phones

9. path45th

Posts: 397; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

iOS, which is the brain of the iPhone IS NOT made in China.

15. SIGPRO

Posts: 2806; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

But it is an US company.............Nuff said!

5. Jango

Posts: 369; Member since: Oct 24, 2014

How did you arrive at this conclusion? Have you heard of the grey box and it's ease in breaking Apple's encryption?

6. rouyal

Posts: 1536; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

It doesn’t break Apple’s encryption. It just brute force guesses the password.

17. AVVA1

Posts: 228; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

It uses brute Force. Smh. It doesn't actually break apple encryption directly but try to guess your password many times until it unlocks. Its like fiddling thru your house keys just find the key for your front door.

16. SIGPRO

Posts: 2806; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Only hardcore iFans like you believe in the rotten fruit fairy tale!

3. matistight

Posts: 870; Member since: May 13, 2009

Did you know that Google Maps tracks children too? AND ADULTS!

7. technitude

Posts: 260; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

The penalty needs to be warning then jail. I say warning, because some apps do not target children (like YouTube), but children heavily use them. I would also say, maybe no app should be collecting data on anyone. After hearing how Facebook profits off of exploiting its users (including children and seniors), this is probably a bad business model.

8. path45th

Posts: 397; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

Oh, the joys of having an open, non restrictive OS.

11. gamehead unregistered

Spooky

13. mootu

Posts: 1264; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

If anyone thinks apps from the App Store arn't doing the exact same lives in a dreamworld. This is the world we live in, either deal with it or get off the internet and even then you can't avoid being tracked without going totally off grid.

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