Friday, 20 April, 2018

Google is Reportedly Replacing Voice Search on Android With Google Assistant

Google Play under FTC investigation in Korea for abuse of market position Google Play Store allegedly littered with apps that can harvest data about children
Emmett Howard | 17 April, 2018, 01:05

MOBILETRACKING is creepy enough, but a study has found that some 3,300 Android apps have been potentially illegally tracking kids.

A team of university researchers and computer scientists revealed by using an automatic evaluation of the privacy behaviors of Android apps, that of 5,855 apps in the Play Store that is designed for Families program, 28 percent "accessed sensitive data protected by Android permissions" and 73 percent of the applications "transmitted sensitive data over the internet". But a new study suggests that thousands of apps in the Google Play store are potentially violating USA laws by collecting an excessive amount of data from kids.

Another 1,100 shared persistent identifying information with third parties, and 2,281 appeared to violate the Google terms of service forbidding apps from sharing those identifiers to the same destination as the Android Advertising ID. A whopping 92 percent of Facebook-linked apps failed to hinder use by children under the age of 13. One caveat, however, is that any alleged COPPA violator must be proven to have "actual knowledge" that data was being collected.

All this looks exceedingly dodgy, but there's more to the situations than meets the eye.

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The study's authors claim that none of the apps in question attained "verifiable parental consent" for accessing or sharing this private information, which constitutes a violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the US.

The researcher's automated tool could offer the means to do this, but we suspect that there will be more data collection issues in a similar vein before Google works out a way to tackle such challenges.

And given the volume of apps added to the Play Store on a daily basis, Google faces a massive challenge on policing the granular details. In a recent Android developers blog post, the search engine giant has posted a preview of the Android version's new UI, although some people were quick to notice the new navigation bar that performs a similar function with an iPhone X gesture.

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