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Play Store spying on children’s apps?

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“The rampant potential violations that we’ve uncovered points out basic enforcement work that NEEDS to be done”

That was said by Serge Egelman, the director of Security & Privacy Research at the International Computer Science Institute at UC-Berkeley, after finding out that over 5,000 children’s apps were violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Researchers at UC-Berkeley found that an estimated 5,855 apps violated the COPPA by collecting information about your child via tracking software that is in fact, prohibited by the Google Play Store. Fox News asked Google for a response on the conducted investigation and here’s what they have to say.

“Protecting kids and families is a top priority, and our Designed for Families program requires developers to abide by specific requirements. If we determine that an app violates our policies, we will take action. We always appreciate the research community’s work to help make the Android ecosystem safer”. Despite Google saying that, over 28% of approved children’s apps were accessing sensitive information targeted at children at the age of and below the age of 13 years old.

While 28% of the apps were accessing sensitive information a whopping 73% was sending and receiving the information for advertising purposes. Something Disney was sued for last year due to children’s apps “Where’s My Water”, “Minion Rush” and “Duolingo” collecting and selling information based on children.

What’s your take on this situation?

Do you think Google will stop children’s apps from collecting and selling your childs information when they’re making millions of dollars from it?

Do you think you should be stricter about which app or apps your child downloads?Leave a comment below and let us know.

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The Avro Post was established as an independent student publication at Humber College’s North Campus in October 2017. Its mission is to report daily news, important updates and in-depth reporting that matters to students on campus.

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