Google Play Hosts Dangerous Malware Intended For State-Style Surveillance

Google Play Hosts Dangerous Malware Intended For State-Style Surveillance

"Overall, roughly 57% of the 5,855 child-directed apps that we analysed are potentially violating Coppa".

In other news, Facebook still tracks users even if they're logged out of the social network.

The study used an automated testing process to determine how many apps were possibly in violation of the COPPA law of the United States.

Almost one in five of the most popular free children- and family-oriented apps in the Google Play store improperly collects "identifiers or other personally identifiable information", a study has found.

A study conducted by University researchers and scientists highlights that 73% of Android apps, designed for Families program, transmit sensitive data over the internet.

Amongst the many concerning findings was that almost 256 apps collected the geolocation data, 107 apps shared the email address of the device owner, and 10 apps shared phone numbers.

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

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"This is an incredibly important study that clears demonstrates that many apps for children are violating Coppa at a massive scale", said Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood. Unfortunately, they have already been downloaded up to 1,250 times, so there could be users out there carrying some very risky apps.

As ZDNet notes, the fact that these apps were downloadable from the Google Play store made them more credible than they should have been, which is why they were downloaded as many times as they were before detection.

Further, 19 percent of children's apps collect some kind of identifier "or other personally identifiable information" using software development kits (SDKs) whose terms of service say these programs shouldn't be used in children's apps. Sadly, reports indicate misuse of the collected data and thus causes a line of disagreements within parties of the Google Play system.

Activists have been pressuring the Federal Trade Commission in the recent months to take action against a number of large corporations they allege are illegally directing ad-targeting tools at children, including YouTube and Disney.

Google has yet to comment on the latest issues, however it is taking more initiative on controlling its Play Store, which will hopefully ensure the safety of children moving forward.

Thousands of Android apps on the Google Play store have been found to be collecting sensitive data on children, researchers have found. 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.

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