Thousands of Android apps are improperly tracking children, says new report

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A new study has revealed that thousands of Android apps are improperly tracking and sharing data on children.

The report titled “Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies,” was compiled by researchers at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley and looked at 5,855 child-directed apps that feature “several concerning violations and trends.”

Specifically, the researchers state that the apps that are improperly collecting and sharing data are all included in Google’s Designed for Families program.

Some of the most notable findings of the report include:

  • 40 percent of apps shared children’s personal info insecurely
  • 39 percent of apps violated Google’s terms
  • 19 percent of apps shared private information with third-party services that aren’t supposed to be present in children’s apps
  • 5 percent of apps collected children’s location or contact data without requesting parental consent

Furthermore, more than half of the apps were found to be in violation of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), United States federal law.

However, the report does suspect that “many privacy violations are unintentional and caused by misunderstandings of third-party SDKs.”

The full report can be viewed here.

Via: The Verge 

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