Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Study Finds Over 3300 Android Apps Have Been Tracking Kids

Study Finds Over 3300 Android Apps Have Been Tracking Kids

Furthermore, the involvement of major app developers such as Disney and Gameloft that reach millions of users - children, specifically - show just how serious the issue is.

There are many duplicates of authentic apps in the Play Store and some are infected with ransomware, which could help hackers to steal your data without you noticing.

Research has revealed that the apps were not only collecting phone numbers, emails and location data (5 percent), but they were also sharing sensitive information with third-parties (19 percent) which was specifically forbidden to prevent tracking and behavioral advertising.

Seven researchers analyzed almost 6,000 apps for children and found that the majority of them may be in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.

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Researchers have discovered over 3,000 Android apps for kids on the Google Play Store that improperly collect data, which should raise an alarm for parents around the world. Now, you'll swipe up on the new pill icon (the one that Google itself accidentally leaked) to access the multitasking screen. CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress where he was tasked with responding to over 500 questions about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, data privacy among other topics. 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.

The researchers note that Google has worked to enforce COPPA by requiring child-app developers to certify that they comply with the law. The study found that many of these apps targeted to kids were in violation of that.

Up to 235 apps were accessing the phone's Global Positioning System data - 184 of which transmitted the device's location to advertisers, according to the study. Some of the apps named in the report include KidzInMind, TabTale's "Pop Girls-High School Band", and Fun Kid Racing. In particular, the FTC is checking whether or not Google requested Korean game developers to release their games on Google's app store "Play Store" only.

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"The researchers must have stated that they are over 13 while performing these simulations", he said. However, the back button is still there, which according to Stephen Hall from 9to5Google, is only shown contextually.

But at the same time, the study found that almost a fifth of the apps it looked at were violating Google's terms of service, and the search giant appears not to have noticed.

It seems like that Google will put an end to the standard Android navigation bar. "We also observed that 73% of the tested applications transmitted sensitive data over the internet", the study found.

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