Over 3000 free Android apps violate kids' USA privacy law
Apr 18 2018
Thousands of free, popular children's apps available on the Google Play Store could be violating USA child privacy laws, according to a new, large-scale study, highlighting growing criticism of Silicon Valley's data collection efforts. We've got a robust COPPA compliance program, and also we keep data collection and use procedures for Disney apps made for family members and kids, &rdquo.
Among their findings, 28 percent of apps tested accessed sensitive data and 73 percent transmitted the data over the internet.
This is a market failure.
DR SERGE EGELMAN, a co-author of the study and the director of usable security and privacy research at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.
This is also far from being the only case to have been a violation of Coppa, The Verge reports.
Each of the 5,855 apps under review was installed more than 750,000 times, on average, according to the study.
The apps in question included Disney's Where's My Water?, Gameloft's Minion Rush and language learning app Duolingo.
The researchers found that the worst offenders, constituting five percent of the sample, collected location or contact data without verifiable parent consent. Facebook-integrated apps were breaking the law because they didn't protect users under 13 years of age.
Other details revealed include the presence of a new "contextual back button", which the publication explained will hide and reveal itself in certain situations based on whether it's needed.
"If we determine that an app violates our policies, we will take action", the spokesperson added.
Google did not respond to a request for comment. The Recent apps tab will be replaced with the "Home" pill, which is said to be doing double duty. Even if the data gathered only contained a string of numbers and letters as part of an identification code, tracking companies could partner with third-party data brokers to connect that code with other slices of information collected - and form a complete user profile to deliver targeted advertising.
"The new, alarming report is further evidence that Google is thumbing its nose at the only federal online privacy law that we have".