NPR spoke with Geoffrey Fowler, Washington Post technology columnist, about Pixalate’s research regarding the rampant endangerment of children’s privacy within mobile apps found on the Apple and Google app stores.
Check out the recap below to find the most critical findings and quotes from the interview, and listen to the full episode here.
Concerns over children's privacy in Apple and Google Play Stores
Pixalate "found that more than two-thirds of the apps on iPhones were sending [personal data] information off to the advertising industry. It was an even higher number — 79% — on Android phones. What shocked me about this is that we have a law in America that's supposed to protect the privacy of children — and yet this is happening," said the Washington Post’s Geoffrey Fowler.
How apps avoid privacy regulations
“Many of the app developers then just claim, ‘We don't know who's using our app. It could be adults.’ Or they'll say, ‘We're really not marketing this coloring app or this math homework assistance app to children. We're marketing it to adults.’ And Apple and Google, who run these app stores and are sort of the de facto police for them, let them get away with it," Fowler said to NPR.
App stores' responsibility to protect children
One of the potential solutions to limit abuses came from Instagram, Fowler said. If a child is using a child account at the device level, which states they are under 13, the device would automatically send developers information that the developers should not collect their data unless their parents consent.
Children's privacy online is a rising topic gaining traction across media, business, and legislature. Listen to the entire interview on NPR's website to get a broader perspective on kid’s privacy online. Check out Pixalate’s latest reports to learn more about the subject.