Over 3000 free Android apps violate kids' U.S. privacy law

Over 3000 free Android apps violate kids' U.S. privacy law

Over 3000 free Android apps violate kids' U.S. privacy law

"These techniques include not shipping the malicious functionality of an app until a second stage that is triggered by some behavior".

Researchers also found that almost half the apps are not taking "reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of personal information collected from children".

The research was published on April 6, and will be presented at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium in July.

Last year, Disney was sued for violating COPPA standards, with the lawsuit claiming that more than 40 of its apps were illegally spying on children.

Researchers said that based on their analysis, most applications didn't break COPPA directly, but mainly due to the inclusion of software development kits (SDKs), which often collected this data automatically for the SDK makers, sometimes without the parent app collecting any data at all. Furthermore, the users are asked to enter the player's age, and the app does not collect any data if it is under 13. And now, Facebook has come out with a detailed response to relevant questions about the information the company receives from other websites and apps, how Facebook uses that data, and the options users have. Incidentally, concerns of COPPA violation were also flagged against YouTube earlier this month, which is owned by Google.

With apps, people often give permission for ad-tracking in exchange for free service. Needless to say, those are red flags for any app targeted at kids.

Among their findings, 28 percent of apps tested accessed sensitive data and 73 percent transmitted the data over the internet. Kids who download game or language apps face an even tougher time understanding what they are giving up in exchange.

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To go along with the launch, Google has also released a companion app for Android on Google Play.

At the end of the day, mobile app developers have a responsibility to make sure that third-party services are protecting children's information.

"The researchers must have stated that they are over 13 while performing these simulations", he said.

As you can see above that button has vanished, though thankfully Google hasn't removed the back button.

A study conducted on 5,885 child-directed Android apps from the US Play Store, which are included in Google's Designed for Families programme, found that well over half of the apps potentially violated the US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa).

We contacted Google for comment but the search giant has yet to respond.

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