Many Google Play Store Apps Violating Policies

Many Google Play Store Apps Violating Policies

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Carnegie Mellon University performed a study and found that over half of the free apps on Google Play do not have privacy policies. There are over 18,000 apps on Google Play that are free, so we are talking about nearly 9,000 apps that are not following or are violating the policies and guidelines set forth on Google Play.

New Study Shows Free Android Apps Violating Google Policies

When it comes to the Carnegie Mellon study, there was a lot of useful information that was found regarding free apps found in Google Play. Some of the information though that the study concluded is a bit scary and unnerving if you are an Android user. An example of a scary study fact is that the study found 41 percent of apps that had privacy policies did not mention the apps gathered personally identifiable information. Beyond that, over 17 percent of the apps did not mention that the identifiable information is shared with others.

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When it comes to identifiable information, a lot of federal laws and state laws state that apps need to have the privacy policies, especially when that identifiable information is being collected by the app. The free apps are breaking the guidelines that Google has posted in the Google Play Store when they are not notifying users about the collection of the identifiable information. Google requires that all apps that collect identifiable information have a privacy policy in place, written out in detail, and it must say that the personally identifiable information is being collection.

More specifically, the guidelines that are written for app developers for the Google Play Store explicitly state that if an app handles sensitive or personal data, there has to be a privacy policy in place. The privacy policy has to be in the Play Developer Console area and also has to be in the Google Play app itself. The guidelines from Google go on to state that you have to disclose in comprehensive details how each app will collect the data and if the data is being shared, and then if shared how the sharing is taking place.

When it comes to the study, the results show more than anything that there needs to be a more completed look at the apps going into the Google Play Store. The study used an automated system, which means that it could be picking up potential problems or inconsistencies where there is not really anything wrong. The results though should be alarming either way and should require a more hands-on look and check of the Google Play apps, because the statistics are alarming even if a few errors in the automated system occurred. One other possibility is that developers of apps are naïve about the data being collected and shared in apps, and need more of a lesson on which apps are requiring or collecting which types of information from a user.