Вторник, 24 Апреля, 2018

Thousands of popular Android apps are covertly tracking kids, study finds

iPhone X-like gestures may be coming to Android P Over 3300 Android Apps on Google Play Store Are Improperly Tracking Kids
Troy Mann | 17 Апреля, 2018, 20:24

A study out of the University of California, Berkeley found that thousands of Android apps directed at children under 13, are potentially violating law U.S. law by collecting and sharing their data.

Using this automated system, the researchers found 3,337 child and family-oriented apps were collecting data about children they should not have been.

For example, developers creating apps that span wide audiences might legitimately collect data from adults but struggle to avoid harvesting children's data. 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.

Researchers said that based on their analysis, most applications didn't break COPPA directly, but mainly due to the inclusion of software development kits (SDKs), which often collected this data automatically for the SDK makers, sometimes without the parent app collecting any data at all. And since many of these apps have those violations buried deep in their code or via third-party code the app buys and uses, it may well be impossible for the average parent to determine which apps are safe.

Last year, Disney was sued for violating COPPA standards, with the lawsuit claiming that more than 40 of its apps were illegally spying on children.

It just feels odd to see some of the most important iPhone X features being replicated by Google so fast.

Читайте также: Federation Internationale de Football Association charges Russia over fan racism during friendly vs

In an attempt to not be suspended from Google's services, Unlockd has taken out an injunction against the online advertising giant in the UK High Court and is threatening to report the company for uncompetitive behaviour to various competition regulators including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the US Federal Trade Commission and the European Commissioner for Competition. The program allows developers to submit their apps to make sure those apps are COPPA-compliant. As it relates to COPPA, the aforementioned gray area and daunting task of enforcement seem to be strong-enough deterrents to not prosecute potential violators.

The researchers published the study, "Won't Somebody Think of the Children?"

Danger lurks among such popular mobile apps as WhatsApp, Telegram and MX Player in the Google Play Store. Google, for your reference, is expected to make more information regarding Android P public at its upcoming I/O 2018 Developer's Conference in the days to come.

Egelman said, "If a robot can click-through their consent screen, which caused the sharing of data, children that do not understand what they are agreeing to can do the same".

Once again, the "delete Facebook" memes and status updates are spreading around the internet like wildfire following the revelation that Facebook user data was improperly used to help get Trump elected.

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