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


This Google AIY app pushed in the Google Play Store will easily let you connect your AIY projects to a WiFi network, via your mobile phone. It also appears many of these apps are the equivalent of a auto cobbled together with spare parts lying around; developers just find code that solves the problem, bolt it onto their app, and ignore the giant booklet of warnings that comes with it.

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. The study also found that 40% of these apps shared personal information without proper security protocols, and 39% disregarded contractual obligations aimed at protecting children's privacy.

The reason for uncertainty regarding the exact numbers is because there is no concrete, widely agreed upon criteria for determining what apps are for children. "We observed that 81 of their 82 apps that we tested shared Global Positioning System coordinates with advertisers", the researchers stated in the report. However, COPPA has laid strict guidelines against the use of such techniques on children.

It seems like that Google will put an end to the standard Android navigation bar. So some apps were even in violation of Google's privacy policy.

The findings don't necessarily put app developers or publishers in court as apps may appear violating of laws.

Only a week after it was alleged that YouTube violated USA laws that protect children's online privacy, a study has claimed a majority of popular free children's apps in the Google Play Store are also in breach of these rules. In such scenario, for Google to make sure every app is adhering all T&Cs and laws is a daunting task. The first developer preview of Android P is only released for the developers. In 2013, another group of researchers found Google allowing fake Blackberry BBM apps to get listed on the platform.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is checking whether or not Google requested Korean game developers to release their games on Google's app store "Play Store" only. In 2017, the head of the Department of Health's National Data Guardian (NDG) criticised Google for sharing patient data.

"Unlockd's legal counsel has confidence that the threats made by Google to withdraw access and the supply of services in respect of Google Play and AdMob represent an abuse of its dominant position and breach of competition rules", the company said.