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

18 April, 2018, 03:34 | Author: Courtney Reynolds
  • Over 3300 Android Apps on Google Play Store Are Improperly Tracking Kids

Other crucial discoveries that were made under the study include 281 apps that collected the location or contact data of children without asking for permission from parents, and 1,100 apps that shared persistent identifying information that can be used for behavioral advertising methods that are banned to be used on children. About 40 percent of apps transmitted info without using "reasonable security measures", and almost all (92 percent) of the 1,280 apps with Facebook tie-ins weren't properly using the social network's code flags to limit under-13 use (though they may not have realized they were using this info for law-breaking purposes). "We have a robust COPPA compliance program, and we maintain strict data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families", a Disney spokesperson said.

Up to 235 apps were accessing the phone's Global Positioning System data - 184 of which transmitted the device's location to advertisers, according to the study.

COPPA, a law approved in 1998 and revised in 2003, prohibits applications from collecting the private information of children under 13 without a parent's specific consent.

"Although we can not know the true number of children's apps in the Play Store, we believe that our results are representative given that the apps we examined represent the most popular free ones", the study's conclusion reads.

The apps targeted at children, were downloaded 750,000 times, on an average. However, the paper's co-author, Serge Egelman denied his claims and stated, "Even if his claims are true, they are irrelevant as the study was performed using machine algorithm by randomly pressing buttons". The law requires explicit parental consent. Moreover, the Oreo flavor brings a bunch of new features such as the picture-in-picture mode, intelligent Auto-filling of text fields, 2x faster boot times, Notification dots; Android Instant apps let you use the app within the browser without installing them and much more exciting are packed with this one. Without iOS data, it's also unclear how common this problem is across platforms.

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When we asked Shackelford if iOS is better for kids than Android, he said "No platform is flawless, but parents should be aware that, on average, iOS does have advantages in both privacy and security over Android".

To source this data, Google tracks the Android versions of any devices accessing the Play Store over the course of a 7-day period.

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

Up to 2,344 children's apps transferring collected data did not use TLS encryption, a security standard that makes sure the data and its recipient are authentic.



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