CyberNews Briefs

Fifth of Google Play Apps Violate Child Protection Law

A recent study by consumer rights firm Comparitech found that one in five apps available on the Google Play Store that are designed for children break federal law regarding child protection. Comparitech analyzed the top 300 free and top 200 paid apps on the marketplace under the children and family categories, reviewing each apps’ listed privacy policy to determine whether they violated child protection laws. Ultimately, the company found that one in five violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), legislation that places a strict set of FTC-enforced requirements on websites and online services aimed at children.

Of the 20% of apps on Google Play violating COPPA, half of the apps were in violation due to illegal collection of personal information from children without the required child-specific privacy policy in place, states Comparitech. A further 27% claimed to not market towards children, however, they were located in the “everyone” age limit on Google Play. Two of these apps were allegedly specifically aimed at those under the age of ten, the company claims. Furthermore, some of the apps did not explicitly collect data on children, however, they worked with third-party platforms that may. Comparitech also found that half of the apps listed in the research as violating COPPA have been awarded a Google Play “teacher-approved” badge.

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