Over 3300 Android apps improperly track kids, study shows

Over 3300 Android Apps on Google Play Store Are Improperly Tracking Kids

Over 3300 Android Apps on Google Play Store Are Improperly Tracking Kids

According to the researchers, numerous apps might be breaching the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act in the U.S., which is supposed to regulate how mobile apps, games and websites are allowed to collect and process personal information from children under the age of 13.

Up to 2,344 children's apps transferring collected data did not use TLS encryption, a security standard that makes sure the data and its recipient are authentic.

An automated system was made use of researchers from the International Computer Science Institute to find out if the apps met with the regulations of the COPPA law meant to protect children.

To conduct the study, researchers modified Android's permission system to enable the real-time monitoring of apps' access to protected resources (like location data, address book contacts, etc.) and instrumented all the functions in the Android platform that access these sensitive resources. Of 5,855 free children's apps, 73 percent "transmitted sensitive data over the Internet". Also, none of these Android apps attained verifiable parental consent as required under the law since their automated tool was enough to activate them.

Russia: Syrian regime now controls rebel town hit in chemical attack
He said that the US role in Syria is to defeat Islamic State, not "to engage in the civil war itself". "We'll see what happens". Speaking to reporters at the White House later in the day, Trump said a decision had not yet been made on a course of action.

The apps targeted at children, were downloaded 750,000 times, on an average. This webpage allows developers to choose which Android devices they don't want installing their app, mainly for compatibility reasons. 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 these apps include KidzInMind, TabTale's Pop Girls-High School Band, and Fun Kid Racing.

The Federal Trade Commission of USA had warned BabyBus in 2014, for potential collection of geolocation data. Anyone, including the FTC, can use these techniques to identify potential COPPA violators. In 2016, the ad network InMobi was fined United States dollars 1 million for gathering the location of users - including children - without proper consent.

Furthermore, it says Google's efforts to limit tracking by using resettable advertising IDs are largely ineffective. However, the paper's co-author, Serge Egelman denied his claims and stated, "Even if his claims are true, they are irrelevant as the study was performed using machine algorithm by randomly pressing buttons".

A Google spokesperson said in a statement: "Our publicly available AdMob and Google Play policies clearly set out how our products may be used, and are created to protect the interests of advertisers, publishers and phone users".

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