Google Play apps accused of illegally tracking kids

April 17, 2018 06:56 AM

A concerning story for parents -- thousands of apps your kids use or play on every day could be tracking your children illegally, and while there is a law to protect their information, it doesn’t always work.

Thousands of popular and free apps could be breaking child privacy laws, and they’re available to download right now in the family section of the Google Play store. They may even be on your phone or tablet right now. 

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A new study out from the International Computer Science Institute found all of those apps are pulling data from children without their parent's consent. But federal requirements under the Child Online Privacy act are supposed to stop unauthorized data collection from kids under the age of 13.

However, according to WNYT, many developers are based overseas, and there's little to no regulation holding them accountable. Experts say the information is sent off to advertisers to target specific ads. Everything from call logs, to your location, browsing history, and more.

“There's no consent from a parent that says you may take my children's data on this app so they are just kind of ignoring that ruling,” says Adam Dean. He is a Security Specialist at GreyCastle Security.

"These are third-party apps that you're downloading and installing on your phone they are just simply providing the avenue to do that,” says Dan Didier, who is Vice President of Services at GreyCastle Security.

As for what you can do, be sure to look at what information an app says it will explicitly access. Also, pay close attention to changes in user agreements -- don't just skip them. 

You can also check out the “App Census,” which is an online tool that breaks down what’s collected from different apps. You can access it by clicking here.


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