Android apps capture info about YOUR children invisibly: Parents have filed a warning to the Play Store.
If you’ve installed any Google Play Store apps for your kids on your Android phone or tablet, you might want to take a closer look at the information they’re gathering.
According to new research, one out of every five Android apps aimed at children on the Google Play Store violates data collection standards. Around 20% of the top 500 Android apps for kids on the Google Play Store, according to the report, collect data that likely violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The Android apps in question have been downloaded 492 million times from the Google Play Store.
Compareitech conducted the research, which discovered that 101 Android apps for kids on the Google Play Store have privacy policies that “suggest” COPPA violations.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States implemented COPPA, which applies to apps, services, and websites marketed towards children under the age of 13.
According to the survey, the majority of Android apps that likely breached privacy guidelines collected data but did not have a section for children.
This means that data on children might be collected in the same way that data on adults is.
“A separate part on how the creators assure children’s safety should be included,” researchers added. This wouldn’t be necessary if the app didn’t collect any data at all.”
Even if parents closely watch which apps their children use, the study discovered that kids may still download an Android app that may breach privacy guidelines.
That’s because half of the apps on the Google Play Store that may breach COPPA standards have a “teacher approved” mark.
“274 of the apps we assessed had obtained this teacher-approved tick, and 50 of them (18%) were found to be in breach of COPPA guidelines,” according to the Compareitech report. This indicates that despite being in violation of COPPA’s rules, the apps and their privacy policies have gone through two layers of review and have passed quality control.”
The study also discovered that 9% of the applications examined put the burden of proof on parents or children, requesting that children refrain from contributing personal information (PI) or that parents monitor their children’s app activity.
“Apps should obtain parental consent from the start if they’re going to collect PI (they shouldn’t expect parents to look into this themselves, and they certainly shouldn’t expect children to.”Brinkwire Summary News”, according to the report.