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Google removes popular children’s apps from Play Store over privacy violations

The apps collectively had 20 million downloads on Google Play Store.



Google Play Store

After International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC) alerted Google regarding popular children’s apps that violated their developer policies, Google removed them from Play Store upon further investigation. Those applications include Princess Salon, Number Coloring, and Cats and Cosplay.

The Software Development Kit (SDK) used by these apps were the main concern of IDAC. As per IDAC the SDKs used in these apps could potentially lead to violations of Google Play policies. All three apps used Unity, Umeng, and Appodeal SDKs. IDAC highlighted that certain versions of Unity’s SDK were found collecting both the user’s Android ID and Android Advertising Numbers ID (AAID), which may have allowed Unity to track users over time bypassing privacy controls. Many advertisers use this ID to advertise their products.

Princess Salon, Number Coloring, and Cats and Cosplay were primarily targeted for kids and collectively had 20 million downloads. The apps that solely target children should not use any API or SDKs that are not approved for child-directed services, Google said in a statement to TechCrunch. The company also mentioned that it takes action against apps that violate their policies. Google further added it is working with many alliances and companies like IDAC to catch issues similar to this.

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