Faybert

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Privacy experts have analyzed 5,855 child-directed Android apps and have found that more than half —57%— are potentially violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a US law protecting children's private data online.

"We identified several concerning violations and trends: clear violations when apps share location or contact information without consent (4.8%), sharing of personal information without applying reasonable security measures (40.0%), potential non-compliance by sharing persistent identifiers with third parties for prohibited purposes (18.8%), and ignorance or disregard for contractual obligations aimed at protecting children’s privacy (39.0%)," the team said.

Researchers also found that 28% of the tested apps accessed sensitive data protected by Android permissions and 73% transmitted sensitive data over the Internet.

"Overall, roughly 57% of the 5,855 child-directed apps that we analyzed are potentially violating COPPA," privacy experts from multiple US universities wrote in a research paper they plan to present this summer at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS) in Barcelona, Spain.
Researchers tested all the Play Store DFF apps

All the apps analyzed in their study are part of the Google Play Store "Designed for Families" (DFF) program, a section of the Play Store that lists only apps that developers say are COPPA compliant, so at least in theory, these apps should not have had any violations.

The study's results are of concern for parents who think their children's data is protected, but in reality is not.
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