Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Industry | By Faith Ward

Android Oreo on 4% of all devices, April 2018 distribution numbers show

Android Oreo on 4% of all devices, April 2018 distribution numbers show

According to a recent study analyzing 5,855 of the most popular free children's apps, researchers at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) in Berkeley found that a majority are potentially in violation of COPPA.

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.

However, as the study notes, the Designed for Families program is an "optional review process" that allows developers to list compliant apps under family-friendly categories and areas relevant to children under age 13. According to the recent survey by researchers in a USA university, children's online activities were being tracked by Android apps on Google Play store against the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

The researchers found that 28% of the apps accessed sensitive data protected by Android permissions and that 73% of the tested apps transmitted sensitive data over the internet. However, it is the first time that Palestinians have been targeted with Android spyware all thanks to a fake Facebook page. After the app gets installed it switches on the microphone and records conversations as well as track location of the user and steals contact, calls, and text related information. Third-party services also have a responsibility to make sure they are not receiving children's information from integrated apps.

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".

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Concerns regarding data privacy have come into sharp focus after Cambridge Analytica was found to have used millions of user data sourced from Facebook and other apps using Facebook login. But they said "as our results show, there appears to not be any (or only limited) enforcement".

Google did not respond in time for a request for comment.

Almost all of the 1,280 apps (92%) with Facebook tie-ins were not properly using the social network's systems to prevent under-13 use.

Although some potentially violate the US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting more data than the law stipulates, legal action may not be in the cards under the current law, even though it limits data collection for kids under 13.

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