Android Apps Found to Improperly Track Kids

Google Play under FTC investigation in Korea for abuse of market position

iPhone X-like gestures may be coming to Android P

The study, which comes from researchers at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, CA, analyzed 5,855 of the most popular free Android apps targeted at kids and families. While the Android apps tracking kids' online activity are unethical in their own way, the bigger problem might be with COPPA, which is not stringent enough to check on these possible violations. Information collected on children varied from their location data to personal details such as names, email addresses and phone numbers.

This time Google is bidding farewell to the traditional Back, Home, and Recent Apps buttons. Researchers also found that almost half the apps are not taking "reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of personal information collected from children". Will Dormann, software vulnerability analyst at the CERT Coordination Center, told the BSides conference in San Francisco that he tested around 1.8 million Android apps only to discover gaffes in operational security such as PGP Keys, VPN codes and hardcoded admin passwords, which were readily available.

Geolocation data not only reveals where individuals live, but can also help infer socioeconomic scenarios, everyday habits, and health conditions, among others. This way, researchers hope Google would catch intrusive apps instead of relying on the "word" of app developers who submit their app to this section. "We observed that 81 of their 82 apps that we tested shared Global Positioning System coordinates with advertisers", the researchers stated in the report. Additionally, 1,100 apps shared persistent identifying info with third parties for restricted purposes, while 2,281 of them seemed to violate Google terms of service forbidding apps from sharing those identifiers to the same destination as the Android Advertising ID. Some of these apps include KidzInMind, TabTale's Pop Girls-High School Band, and Fun Kid Racing.

White Sox Saturday game postponed
The last three games of the series between the White Sox and Twins have been called off because of a spring snowstorm. The Winter Weather Advisory runs until Sunday, with the bulk of the snowfall coming Saturday evening.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is checking whether or not Google requested Korean game developers to release their games on Google's app store "Play Store" only. In 2016, the ad network InMobi was fined Dollars 1 million for gathering the location of users - including children - without proper consent.

Unlockd and its partners seek to reward user's attention by returning a portion of the advertising revenue back to users in the form of mobile data, credit off phone bills, entertainment content, or loyalty points.

However, as the study notes, the Designed for Families program is an "optional review process" that allows developers to list compliant apps under family-friendly categories and areas relevant to children under age 13. But they said "as our results show, there appears to not be any (or only limited) enforcement".

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