Recent research from security and privacy comparison and advice website Comparitech.com, which has looked at children’s apps available through Google Play has found that 1 in 5 breach COPPA rules. Even more worrying is that half of the apps that violate the rules have received a “teacher-approved” badge.
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 13 year olds. It also applies to operators of other websites and online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from under 13s.
- 1 in 5 (101) apps have privacy policies that suggest COPPA violations
- These have been downloaded by almost 492 million users
- 50 percent of all the apps that violate COPPA have received a “teacher-approved” badge
- Over 5 percent (27) of all the company privacy policies we reviewed contained claims that the respective apps were not intended for children, despite being within the “Everyone” age category on Google Play–10 of these are “teacher-approved”
- 18 percent of “teacher-approved” apps violate COPPA
- 21 percent of free apps and 20 percent of paid apps violate COPPA
- 38 percent of all the apps that violate COPPA are classed as “educational”
Commenting, Niamh Muldoon, Global data protection officer at OneLogin said:
The full research is available here: https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/app-coppa-study/