Google has responded to a recent study's allegations that Android apps being offered on the Play Store secretly collect kids' data.
Facebook was just in a difficult position as lawmakers questioned the social network company's supposedly underhanded methods in collecting personal data. Meanwhile, the report concerning the search company is claiming that some apps are continuously monitoring children's online activities.
The outcome of the research does not exactly say if the firm is aware of the alleged practices. However, it could mean that the developers might need to implement a better screening process for apps submitted to its online marketplace.
Responding To The Allegations
The company confirmed that it was genuinely alarmed by the research claims and that it will conduct an internal investigation of its own. Children under 13 years old are protected by a federal law that ensures their privacy is protected. Therefore, the firm could potentially be liable for violations of the law if ever the allegations are proven to be true.
Google Defends Their Side
Sources reported that a spokesperson from the company informed Tom's Guide about Google's response to the supposed violation.
"We're taking the researcher's report very seriously and looking into their findings. Protecting kids and families is a top priority, and our Designed For Families program requires developers to abide by specific requirements above and beyond our standard Google Play policies. If we determine that an app violates our policies, we will take action. We always appreciate the research community's work to help make the Android ecosystem safer," said the company spokesperson.
Research Details And Results
The study was apparently conducted by researchers from the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California. A total of 5,855 Android apps were used for the study and were then analyzed for any tendency of collecting or monitoring the users' online behavior. The results of the research supposedly marked 57 percent of the apps were potentially capable of such actions.
Moreover, the same study revealed that Facebook's API or application programming interface, which is being used by 92 percent out of 1,280 Android apps, might be in violation of COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) which was established in 1998. COPPA governs the consent and privacy requirements for websites or online services that provide service to individuals under the age of 13.
Right now, more users are getting more aware of their privacy rights, which means that companies that take advantage of loopholes to collect information will have a lot of explaining to do when the issue reaches the court.