Google has just removed three very popular apps for children from its Play Store. Princess Salon, Number coloring and Cats & Cosplay, which together had some 20 million downloads, were pinned by the IDAC (International Digital Accountability Council) after it was discovered that they did not follow Google’s policy in matter of data collected.
And their developers will undoubtedly pay a little more attention to the tools they use to develop their apps. It was not the code of these applications that was directly involved, but the frameworks, the pre-existing software components, on which they were based.
All three of these apps used versions of Unity, Appodeal and Umeng that retrieved Android ID as well as Advertising ID. And that’s a problem, because if an app sends this advertising ID along with other data (including the Android ID), Google’s privacy protections can be violated and users can be tracked. At this time, IDAC cannot indicate how much data may have been collected by these applications if this was the case. The iOS versions of these applications are a priori not affected.
Google has indicated that it is taking the necessary measures when applications do not comply with its rules. This is particularly the case for these three applications which use development kits that are not approved for services to children.