1 in 5 Children’s Google Play Apps Breach Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rules

@pabischoff June 22, 2021

According to data collected by our researchers, 1 in 5 children’s apps available on Google Play don’t adhere to COPPA rules.

COPPA, imposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), enforces a number of requirements on operators of websites or online services that are aimed at under 13s. It also applies to operators of other websites and online services that have actual knowledge they’re collecting personal information from under 13s.

Searching through 500 of the most popular children’s apps available through Google’s Play Store, our team reviewed each app’s privacy policy to see whether or not it met the key areas of COPPA regulations. We also established what personal information (PI) could be collected by the app and whether it included a clear and comprehensive section on collecting children’s data.

20 percent of all the apps we studied had some kind of COPPA violation. The majority of these apps collect data but fail to include a child-specific section, suggesting that children’s data is collected and used the same as adult data. More worrying still, over 5 percent of all the apps we investigated declared that their services aren’t targeted toward or do not address children–including apps with “kids” and “toddler” in their name.

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