A group of researchers studied 5,855 Android apps on Google Play and found that 3,337 of them might be in violation of the COPPA law that limits data collection on children under 13. More specifically, 2,281 apps violated Google terms of service regarding identifiers, 1,100 shared info with third parties for restricted purposes, and 281 collected contact or location data without parental permission. In addition, 40 percent of apps transmitted data without appropriate security in place, and 1,280 didn’t properly use Facebook code flags for children under 13.
It will be up to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to determine if any of the apps run so far afoul of the law as to require prosecution. In the meantime, it might be a good idea for mobile development pros to double-check that their apps are in compliance with COPPA.