Investigate Google Apps That Reportedly Track Children

Target: Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Google, Inc.

Goal: Remove Google Play Store apps that can unlawfully track children.

As many as 3,337 family-oriented apps currently available on the Google Play Store may be illegally collecting data in direct violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPPA). A study, which was conducted by a group of university researchers and computer scientists, focused on 5,855 different apps found in Google Play’s Designed for Families program, which promotes apps aimed at a younger audience. The results showed that 281 of the apps collected location data and contact information without any attempt to first acquire a parent’s permission, and 1,100 of the apps shared persistent identifying information with undisclosed third parties.

If what the study says is true, Google could potentially be in direct violation of COPPA, a federal law which puts strict limitations on the amount of data that can be gathered from users who are 13 years old or younger. COPPA also requires that apps intended for children must obtain verifiable parental consent before a child can use the app. On average, over 2,700 new apps are added to the Google Play store every day, making any sort of manual review process hard to maintain. However, the onus is still on Google to ensure that apps specifically designed for children aren’t violating COPPA or, worse, compromising their safety. Sign below to demand that Google review its app submission process and take stricter measures when it comes to apps that are intended for the Designed for Families program.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chief Executive Officer Pichai,

The Google Play Designed for Families program is an excellent way to introduce younger users to the many benefits of owning an Android device. However, there are many app creators out there who, whether intentionally or not, are exploiting the somewhat lax nature of the app submission process to gather and share data from underage users, potentially violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

It is understandably hard to review every single new app that is submitted to Google Play, but I urge you to pay special attention to any apps that are intended for the Google Play Designed for Families program. If the apps are directly violating COPPA, there could be consequences for Google, but more importantly, the safety of underage Android users could be at risk. Please look into this matter so that parents can rest easy knowing that their children’s data isn’t being unlawfully collected.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: 422737

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2 Comments

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    Great job Google! Make every pedophile’s digusting dreams come true. Pedophile’s are sick disgusting people and so are corporations with their greed and thoughtlessness.

  2. Gen Agustsson says:

    im an adult and i am pro-family. shut down apps like kik that link to pedohilia.

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