That kid’s app might be doing more than keeping your children busy, according to a new international study. Researchers from the International Computer Science Institute say the majority of popular, free children’s Android apps are improperly tracking data on kids and violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, a federal law that regulates data collection from users who are under 13 years old. The research was published on April 6, and will be presented at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium in July. The study looked at 5,855 apps targeted at children, which had each been downloaded an average of 750,000 times, the researchers said. Using a Nexus 5X phone, researchers downloaded top apps targeted toward kids from November 2016 to March 2018, running them for about 10 minutes to simulate an actual user. The study found thousands of kid-targeted apps were collecting data from the device, some including GPS location and personal information. The study brings up concerns for parents, who would need an expert’s level of technical knowledge to figure it out themselves, Serge Egelman, the paper’s co-author said. “They’re not expected to reverse engineer applications in order to make a decision whether or not it’s safe for their kids to use,” Egelman said. Data privacy concerns have come into focus in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, with people and lawmakers giving a closer look into how much information tech companies have on them. YouTube, which Google also owns, was is the subject of… [Read full story]
You are here: / / Thousands of Android apps are tracking children, study finds
CNET is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally.