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Google Purportedly Removes 3 Kid’s Apps Over Data Collection Practices

Researchers allege that three children’s apps that had more than 20 million downloads between them were violating Google’s data collection policies.

Researchers allege that three youngsters’s apps that had greater than 20 million downloads between them had been violating Google’s knowledge assortment insurance policies.
Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Photographs)

Simply because a youngsters’s app appears innocuous doesn’t imply it’s not doing a little shady stuff within the background. Google has reportedly taken motion in opposition to three youngsters’s apps within the Play Retailer—Princess Salon, Quantity Coloring and Cats & Cosplay—for allegedly violating its knowledge assortment insurance policies, based on a report in PJDM.

Per the report, Google took motion on the apps after researchers on the International Digital Accountability Council, a nonprofit privateness watchdog, knowledgeable it of the violations. Not one of the hyperlinks to the apps within the Play Retailer at present work, which appears to assist the speculation that they went bye-bye for a purpose. In a statement on its web site, the IDAC acknowledged that one of many issues was associated to the software program improvement kits used inside the three apps: Unity, Appodeal and Umeng.

The group affirmed that its checks had found that sure variations of the three SDKs used within the apps “weren’t in compliance with broader Google Play insurance policies round knowledge assortment.” Though the IDAC didn’t checklist all of the alleged violations intimately, it did spotlight one particular downside associated to sure variations of the Unity SDK.

“IDAC’s checks highlighted that sure variations of Unity’s SDK had been accumulating each the consumer’s AAID and Android ID concurrently, which can have allowed Unity to bypass privateness controls and monitor customers over time and throughout units,” the group acknowledged.

IDAC goes on to clarify that that is important as a result of when the AAID—which is a novel, resettable ID for promoting that mainly permits advert networks to create a personalized data profile of your likes and dislikes, amongst different issues—is linked with the Android ID, it creates a “bridge” that permits firms to trace customers.

Android ID is one other distinctive identifier that, in contrast to the AAID, can’t be reset. The privateness group concludes that “ID bridging” finally makes customers’ potential to reset their AAID ineffective. As defined by Wired, customers can select to reset their AAID to cease the profiles advert networks have collected on them from rising much more or pressure the networks to create a brand new profile on them altogether.

In keeping with PJDM, the Princess Salon, Quantity Coloring and Cats & Cosplay apps had greater than 20 million downloads between them.

Gizmodo has reached out to Google to ask in regards to the IDAC report and ensure whether or not it took motion on these apps due to it. We’ll replace this weblog if we hear again.

If these apps had been certainly accumulating knowledge that allowed them to trace youngsters throughout units, that’s fairly upsetting. Whereas I don’t have youngsters, if I did, I’d be fairly cranky if their video games had been accumulating and constructing profiles on them. Apart from being appalling, it’s additionally a possible violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a federal regulation that bans operators of internet sites and on-line providers, together with apps and social media networks, from accumulating the private data of youngsters below 13 years outdated with out parental consent.


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Jody Serrano