HOUSTON — Why is it possible that your kid’s apps are spying on them?
Software company Pixalate has released a new study that says that more than two-thirds of the most popular iPhone apps likely used by kids collect and send their personal information to advertisers.
When it came to Android, 79 percent of potential apps for kids do the same.
That information could include location, internet address and a code that can identify the child’s device.
There is a law designed to prevent all this called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It was passed way back in 1998. It prevents companies from gathering personal information for children under the age of 13.
According to Washington Post, the way app developers get around this is by offering kid-friendly content without labelling it as a kids app and never asking the user their age. That way they can claim they don’t know they are collecting data from children.
Both Google and Apple dispute this study. Apple says it disagrees with the premise of the research and the company behind it. Pixalate has a conflict of interest because it works with advertisers. Google disputed how the company determined whether an app was aimed at kids.
But in separate research a London based company found that by the time a kid reaches 13 advertisers already have already collected an average of 72 million data points about them.