Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Industry | By Kenny Hampton

Over 3000 free Android apps violate kids' USA privacy law

Over 3000 free Android apps violate kids' USA privacy law

The researchers conducted an "automatic evaluation of the privacy behaviors" of 5,855 Android apps which showed that 28% of them had access to sensitive data protected by Android permissions whereas 73% of the apps transmit sensitive data over the internet.

The study, which comes from researchers at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, CA, analyzed 5,855 of the most popular free Android apps targeted at kids and families. The study found thousands of kid-targeted apps were collecting data from the device, some including Global Positioning System location and personal information.

This has led to problems such as tracking of our data and location sometimes without our knowledge, which is what researchers have recently discovered. 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.

Moreover, the app weights around 3MB (2.4MB to be precise) and you can download it from the link given below.

Some 256 (4.4%) were found to collect geolocation data, 107 shared the device owner's email address and 10 even shared the user's phone number. The FCT reportedly confirmed whether or not employees of an app market requested game developers not to register their games in other app markets and whether or not game developers received special favors or disadvantages with respect to the matter. About 40 percent of apps transmitted info without using "reasonable security measures", and almost all (92 percent) of the 1,280 apps with Facebook tie-ins weren't properly using the social network's code flags to limit under-13 use (though they may not have realized they were using this info for law-breaking purposes). Developers can use our testing infrastructure to assess how well their apps comply with their privacy policies and regulatory requirements, prior to releasing those apps to the public.

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Digital maps startup Mapbox Inc told Reuters on Tuesday that it has hired a lead product manager from the local search unit of Alphabet Inc's Google to serve as head of product for maps and search. Some of the apps named in the report include KidzInMind, TabTale's "Pop Girls-High School Band", and Fun Kid Racing.

Google, in 2014, had allowed its users to reset their Android Advertising ID, which gave them better control on how online services track their data.

"We're taking the researchers' report very seriously and looking into their findings", a Google spokesperson said.

This study could monitor when data is first accessed and where it is sent, according to the published report. But they said "as our results show, there appears to not be any (or only limited) enforcement".

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