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How Daycare Apps Can Spy on Parents, Children

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Daycare apps are designed to make everyday life easier, but they often fail to ensure adequate data protection.

Credit: Maximilian Golla

German researchers have uncovered serious security flaws in 42 European and U.S. daycare applications.

The researchers analyzed Android apps in the Google Play Store that offer the ability to record children’s development, a messenger function allowing daycare staff to communicate with parents, and administrative daycare management support functions like scheduling.

Eight apps were found to have vulnerabilities that could permit hackers to view children's private photos, while 40 others could allow spying on parents and teachers.

Some app manufacturers sell users' data to third parties, often Amazon, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft, which use it for targeted advertising.

Maximilian Golla of the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy noted that children’s data is subject to special protection under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act; “Unfortunately, we found that many apps fail to guarantee this protection.”

From Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany)
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