Photo credit: Tech2

Google has wiped off three children Android apps from its Play Store after a report has pointed out that these children apps were violating the data collection policies of the tech giant.

The apps were reportedly collecting personal data from its users.

The International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC), which is a non-profit organization carried out a research and discovered that these apps were actually getting access to the Android Advertising ID (AAID) numbers and Android ID numbers of the Google Play users, which is against Google’s policy.

These three apps which were wiped off Google Play Store for data collection violations are Princess Salon, Number Coloring and Cats & Cosplay. These apps have had more than 20 million downloads together on the Google Play Store and have already been removed from the store now.

Google also verified the same to a tech portal known as Tech Crunch. “Whenever we find an app that violates our policies, we take action,” a company spokesperson told the tech portal.

The report also added that all the three apps will remain accessible for download as APK files. These are also presently live on the iOS App Store.

But the International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC) has asserted that they are yet to discover the same data collection issues with the apps on iOS.

While clarifying the threat that these three apps pose on the privacy of it’s users, Quentin Palfrey, the President of IDAC let out that the information obtained via AIID is put concurrently with an identifier like Android ID, a user’s privacy remains vulnerable despite Google’s policies.

The apps made solely for children are supposed to accept the various sets of guidelines laid by Google. In accordance to the information from Tech Spot, in the domain of user data collection, inventors of kids’ apps are expected to make it known to Google if their app will be compiling any personal identifiable information from users.

These data comprises the ones received through application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs).

Apart from these three children apps that violated Google’s data collection policy, Facebook is also presently under investigation by the main data privacy regulator in the European Union, Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), in Ireland over the way it handles children’s data on Instagram.

DPC had reportedly collected complaints saying that Instagram was making the phone numbers and email addresses of its users who are under 18 public.


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