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Google Removes Three Popular Apps for Children Over Privacy Violations

Google has eliminated three kids’s apps from the Play Store after International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC) identified knowledge assortment violations. The three apps that had been axed are – Princess Salon, Number Coloring, and Cats & Cosplay. Together, these apps noticed greater than 20 million downloads. IDAC notes that these apps weren’t violating any guidelines on the subject of code, however there have been issues discovered within the frameworks that had been powering these apps. The apps used SDKs from Unity, Umeng, and Appodeal. Issues had been noticed in these developer kits.

TechCrunch reports that Google has already eliminated Princess Salon, Number Coloring, and Cats & Cosplay apps from the Play Store quickly after IDAC reported them. “We can confirm that the apps referenced in the report were removed. Whenever we find an app that violates our policies, we take action,” a Google spokesperson informed the publication.

IDAC states that there have been issues discovered within the knowledge assortment practices by three software program growth kits (SDKs) used inside these apps. The three SDKs utilized in these apps – Unity, Umeng, and Appodeal – had been reportedly not in compliance with broader Google Play insurance policies round knowledge assortment. For occasion, sure variations of Unity’s SDK had been accumulating each the person’s AAID and Android ID concurrently. This goes in opposition to Google’s privateness insurance policies and it might have allowed builders to bypass privateness controls and monitor customers over time and throughout units.

“The AAID is Android’s unique ID used for advertising and, unlike the Android ID (another Android unique identifier); users have the ability to reset their AAID. However, when the AAID is linked, or “bridged” with the non-resettable Android ID, it permits corporations to trace customers; ID bridging finally makes the AAID’s skill to be reset by customers moot,” IDAC explains in its weblog.

In any occasion, there weren’t any recognized violations reported by IDAC, nor had been there any particulars shared on how a lot knowledge was compromised by these apps. However, this sheds gentle on the difficult nature of software program and the potential dangers concerned even when there are well-intentioned app producers on the market.


Should the federal government clarify why Chinese apps had been banned? We mentioned this on Orbital, our weekly expertise podcast, which you’ll be able to subscribe to by way of Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or simply hit the play button under.

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