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Thousands of Android apps may improperly track kids' activities

18 April 2018
Thousands of Android apps may improperly track kids' activities

They added that it would not be hard for Google to augment their research to detect the apps and the developers that may be violating child privacy laws.

"This is a market failure", said 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.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is checking whether or not Google requested Korean game developers to release their games on Google's app store "Play Store" only.

Children's apps typically have different standards of tracking data.

A study out of the University of California, Berkeley found that thousands of Android apps directed at children under 13, are potentially violating law United States law by collecting and sharing their data. Although only 1.1 percent of all Android devices ...

The analysis's authors utilized an automated analysis on apps which consented to comply by COPPA as a portion of these addition at the Designed for people program, but additionally discovered 28 percent of those accessed sensitive data along with 73 percent of them transmitted sensitive data over the Internet. Further, the amount of at-risk data is likely higher, as the study notes that it didn't examine if TLS was used correctly, only checking if it was there or not. The second method works on any Android device running Android 7.0+ and actually adds the button to the navigation bar like Android P does, but this method requires an in-app purchase of an app called Custom Navigation Bar.

The apps in question included Disney's Where's My Water?, Gameloft's Minion Rush and language learning app Duolingo.

"This study, by the authors' own admission, does not claim to identify any actual violation of COPPA".

The findings also suggested that app creators that had been certified as Coppa-compliant were no better than any of the other apps at protecting children's privacy.

"It's not a case here of not following the spirit of the law", he continued, "they don't seem to be following even its letter".

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's past time to treat privacy-especially for minors-as the human right it is".

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