A recent report has revealed that many mobile apps at Apple’s and Google’s app stores which are directed at kids and their privacy policies do not meet the requirements of a US child Privacy Law.

The United States passed a new law in 1998 that aimed to protect children’s privacy online. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is designed for users under 13 years of age.

Including Google and Apple, app stores must abide by the law in protecting children’s information. At Pixalate, researchers has examined how each company’s store protected children’s privacy during the third quarter of 2022.

The research by Pixalate has brought to light several important points about child privacy in Apple’s App Stores and Google’s Play Store.

Examining the Results

Pixalate analyzed data from Google and Apple to determine which apps were likely child-directed. They found that around 420K likely child-directed mobile apps as of quarter three with a 1% decrease quarter-over-quarter. Of those 8% seem specially designed with kids in mind.

64% of child-directed apps do not identify a country of registration, and only 9% are registered in America.

It’s interesting to see which app store has stronger security measures. For example, 192 child-directed mobile games on iOS had an undetected privacy policy and transmitted IP addresses in Q3 2022 while just 86 did so in the Play Store during this time period!

The number of apps that transmit users’ personal information without their consent has been on the rise. 15% were found in App Store or 21,125 which is around the same compared to quarter 2 while Play Store had 24,826 such applications as well.

Image Source: Pixalate.com

The number of mobile apps requesting access to personal information has been on the rise. In Google Play Store, 124 379 applications ask for permission from children’s data in order to use it while only 59 797 did so on Apple’s platform. 44% of all likely child-oriented development programs currently request personal information, up from 42% in the last quarter.

According to the report, advertisers are spending three times more on child-directed apps than general audience ones in Q3. The data shows that when it comes to child-directed apps, 59% of them share IP addresses and GPS with third party digital advertisers compared to 43% of non-child-directed apps.

Location and IP data is being sent without your consent in 81% of the top 1,000 most popular child-directed apps.

Though Apple is doing better in most categories compared to Google but there are still some areas in which they can improve. In particular their App Store has seen an increase of advertising to some detriment.

There are some privacy features on the company’s platforms, such as App Tracking Transparency.

The company has privacy features on its platforms, such as App Tracking Transparency which is introduced in iOS 14.5. It will help to reduce how much user data is tracked by other companies for marketing reasons.