Mobile security issue for children identified by recent study

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This project has determined that about half of websites and mobile apps share this personal info.

An international project focused on online and mobile security has now released the results of an analysis that it conducted on 1,494 apps and websites around the globe, and they determined that over half are collecting and sharing the personal information of children.

This issue may be very worrisome to parents who are increasingly allowing their children to use mobile apps.

In fact, among the apps and websites that were analyzed by the mobile security project, 67 percent were collecting the personal information of children. Moreover, 50 percent of the analyzed sites and applications were sharing the personal information that they collected from children with other organizations. The project was taken on by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN). This analysis was conducted as a part of a broader annual privacy sweep and the numbers that they found with regards to what children were able to share with websites and apps were insightful.

This could represent a major mobile security issue of which parents had been previously unaware.

children mobile securityAmong the key findings of the analysis by the GPEN were the following:

• 71 percent provided no opportunity for parents or children to delete account information
• 67 percent of sites and mobile apps were collecting personal information from kids
• 58 percent presented the opportunity for a child to be redirected to another website
• 32 percent had implemented effective controls to restrict personal information collection from kids
• 50 percent shared with third parties the personal information collected from children
• 24 percent encouraged the involvement of parents
• 23 percent contained features that allowed for the uploading of pictures or videos
• 22 percent presented an opportunity for a child to enter his or her telephone number

The GPEN has opted not to publish the list of sites and apps that were studied in this mobile security analysis. That said, it has been underscored, the majority of sites and apps collect and share this information for the purpose of targeted advertising and not for dubious reasons. Equally, the high importance of teaching children about online and mobile privacy was also stressed.

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