Over half of Android kids apps violate COPPA, a new report reveals, which finds apps collecting and sharing users’ data…
A newly published study entitled, “Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies” exposes the risks of kids using apps designed for children under 13 years of age. The report states more than half of Android kids’ apps potentially violate COPPA or the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Report Finds More than 50 Percent of Android Kids Apps Violate COPPA
Furthermore, researchers from the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley warn the apps improperly collect and share user data. More surprisingly, the data collection and sharing apps are all found inside Google’s Designed for Families program.
The study covered 5,855 children’s apps and researchers report finding “several concerning violations and trends.” The report details 4.8 percent contained clear violations for location sharing and collecting contact information without user consent. Another 18 percent for sharing identifiers used for ad-targeting.
Plus, 40 percent shared personal information without proper security controls. Moreover, 39 did not adhere to “contractual obligations aimed at protecting children’s privacy.” Also, a full 28 percent of the kids’ apps accessed sensitive data under Android permissions protections. And, 73 percent transmitted sensitive data over the internet. Some of the apps named in the report include: KidzInMind, TabTale’s “Pop Girls–High School Band,” and Fun Kid Racing.
Google does require developers to comply with COPPA but enforcement appears weak. Congress enacted COPPA in 1999 to protect children’s online privacy. It requires parental consent to collect information of kids under 13 years of age. The FTC revised COPPA in 2013 to cover geolocation markers and IP addresses. Additionally, it required third-party advertisers to comply.