Play Store Is Filled With Android Apps Tracking Kids' Online Activity
17 April, 2018, 18:15
While everyone's in an uproar about Facebook accounts getting skimmed for data, a new study claims that thousands of Android apps are in breach of standards for monitoring kids' behavior online.
Google Play has had some users already skeptical of the use of their data for quite some time, especially in regards to the use of location and other such sensitive information.
Although the FTC did not explicitly state that they would investigate Google's abuse of market dominance, it seems that the FTC inquired whether or not Google committed unfair trade practices as the FTC caught some circumstantial evidence of Google's violations of law. The study found that many of these apps targeted to kids were violating that law. "We also observed that 73% of the tested applications transmitted sensitive data over the internet", the study found.
What is even more surprising is the fact that approximately 400 apps were found recording either device information or geolocation data or email address of device owners or phone numbers. Popular examples include the language learning app Duolingo, the infinite running game Minion Rush and the Disney puzzle game Where's My Water?.
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Furthermore, it says Google's efforts to limit tracking by using resettable advertising IDs are largely ineffective.
Unlockd and its partners seek to reward user's attention by returning a portion of the advertising revenue back to users in the form of mobile data, credit off phone bills, entertainment content, or loyalty points.
"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. Either Google is too lazy to think out-of-the-box with its next major Android release, or it's now taking the fight straight to Cupertino, trying to make iPhone users well at home, so they can effortlessly make the switch.
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