Android developers potentially violating child privacy laws

Android developers potentially violating child privacy laws

Kenneth Drake
April 18, 2018

Around 4.8% of the apps studied were in clear violation of sharing location or contact information without consent, while 18% shared identifiers for target advertising. And now, Facebook has come out with a detailed response to relevant questions about the information the company receives from other websites and apps, how Facebook uses that data, and the options users have.

"Protecting kids and families is a top priority, and our Designed for Families program requires developers to abide by specific requirements above and beyond our standard Google Play policies", Google's statement reads.

Google Go reduces the amount of data needed to display search results by 40 percent and allows previous searches to be accessed offline.

Although some potentially violate the US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting more data than the law stipulates, legal action may not be in the cards under the current law, even though it limits data collection for kids under 13. Overall, 5,855 children apps were analysed and around 57% of them i.e. 3337 family and child-oriented apps were violating COPPA as per survey reports. The findings also provide data about the relative number of devices that have a particular screen configuration, defined by a combination of screen size and density, which help developers to better design user interfaces for different screen configurations.

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

Uber acquires bike-sharing service provider Jump Bikes
Making the decision to integrate the bike-sharing platform permanently after the pilot concluded was apparently an easy one. Presumably customers who do not secure the bikes properly will suffer a penalty sufficient to prevent such bad behavior.

A team from the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) used an automated testing system to analyse 5,855 Android apps that are available to download on Google Play, and found that more than 3,000 of them were collecting more data than they should.

Of course, it's worth noting that many of these apps might not be intentionally gathering the data of children and intentionally flouting the law.

Then there's the problem with ensuring children are honest with how old they are when accessing apps and that they do indeed seek the permission of parents when prompted.

Nearly 2,281 apps (39% of those surveyed) seemed to violate Google's term of service.

Google did not respond to a request for comment. The Recent apps tab will be replaced with the "Home" pill, which is said to be doing double duty. "The new, alarming report is further evidence that Google is thumbing its nose at the only federal online privacy law that we have".