Google has removed three popular children’s apps from the Android Play Store in the wake of concerns that they were collecting user data in violation of the company’s policies.
Princess Salon, Number Coloring, and Cats & Cosplay, which claimed to help learning through games, were removed after International Digital Accountability Council (IDCA) said the apps collected data of users, mostly children. The data could have been leaked for the software development kits (SDKs) of third parties, the IDCA said.
“The practices we observed in our research raised serious concerns about data practices within these apps,” IDAC president Quentin Palfrey told TechCrunch.
In response to queries from the website, Google said the apps have been removed. “Whenever we find an app that violates our policies, we take action,” it said.
There wasn’t much detail about the kind of data the three apps are said to have collected.
IDAC had last month published a report in which it raised concerns about security risks in apps that claimed to offer educational technology and were used by schools to help children’s learning during COVID that has made classroom education difficult.
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The organisation examined about 500 edu-tech apps in over 20 countries. While most apps did protect privacy, it was not clear how they shared data about users’ location with third parties or what kind of permission has been given to third-party entities to collect user details.
Big tech companies like Google and Apple have stringent policies on children’s data and there are restrictions on passing them on to third parties.