‘Android Apps targeting Children are not Privacy Friendly’ in India

Children’s Apps are not Privacy-friendly and do not adhere to many basic Privacy Principles &Practices says a study done by ArrkaInfosec Pvt. Ltd (Arrka), a niche player specializing in Data Privacy & Info Security.. It was also concluded that factors like lack of consent, excessive permissions and needless privacy-intrusive features like in-App ads and in-App purchase options are some of the reasons making children’s Apps vulnerable and at-risk.

The study also highlighted that 71% of the Apps were found to contain In-App ads, and, further, the Ads were not found to be child-safe. For eg., Ads shown were for shopping, part-time studies, women entrepreneurs, real estate, physiotherapy and healthcare. Ads were also found redirecting the user to other websites without any consent.

According to the findings of the study,  43% Apps offered In-app purchase options. No consent or verification of an adult was found required to make the purchases, 29% of Apps did not have a Notice addressing children under age 13. In 86% Apps, consent was not being taken. Even when consent was being taken, there was no verification to check if the person was an adult.

Commenting on the study, Shivangi Nadkarni, CEO – Arrka, added, “Children are a particularly vulnerable category of online users. Hence, this year, as part of our study on the ‘State of Privacy of Indian Apps and Websites-2018’, we decided to bring special focus on children’s Android Apps. Though it was heartening to see that 29% Apps took NO Permissions at all,100% of the Apps tested had links to other Appsand71% of the Apps had access to Storage. It was also found out that 56% of the permissions accessed were not required at all. “