Study Finds Over 3300 Android Apps Have Been Tracking Kids


According to the recent survey by researchers in a U.S. university, children's online activities were being tracked by Android apps on Google Play store against the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Each of the 5,855 apps under review was installed more than 750,000 times, on average, according to the study.

MOBILETRACKING is creepy enough, but a study has found that some 3,300 Android apps have been potentially illegally tracking kids. The study found that many of these apps targeted to kids were in violation of that.

The researchers are adamant that they're not showing "definitive legal liability".

"Given the number of children's apps and a complex third-party ecosystem, analysis at scale is important to properly understand the privacy landscape", the study's conclusion added. End-users can examine our results to understand the privacy behaviors of the apps they use (or plan to use).

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.

Fun Kid Racing alone has more than 10 million downloads, according to the app page.

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Google Play Store is the large source of apps related to games and other purposes for Android smartphones. But it's easy to forget that Facebook is far from the only company collecting our data, or that any American under 13 is supposed to have strict privacy protections.

"The researchers must have stated that they are over 13 while performing these simulations", he said. This implies that the back button will not show up when there is no use for it, like on the Homescreen.

The researchers found many were not complying with COPPA because they did not attain "verifiable parental consent". Of 5,855 free children's apps, 73 percent "transmitted sensitive data over the Internet".

Google mistakenly leaked an unannounced Android P feature, a new navigation menu that looks a lot like the iPhone X's gesture-based navigation. The apps may appear to be violating COPPA or the terms of service of the Google Play Store, but it is up to the Federal Trade Commission and Google to determine the truth behind the violations.

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. The automated tool behind the study could go a long way toward addressing that, but it might still require checking apps by hand before removing them or involving the law. The security measure is the "standard method for securely transmitting information", the researchers said.