International Computer Science Institute researchers estimated that about 17,000 Android apps collect identifying information, creating a permanent record of the activity on the owner's device.
This practice apparently violates Google's policy on collecting data that can be used for targeted advertising.
The apps track users by linking their Advertising ID number with other identifiers on the phone that are hard or impossible to reset, such as the phone's media access control address, International Mobile Equipment Identity, and Android ID.
Fewer than 33% of identifier-collecting apps accept only the Advertising ID, as recommended by Google's best developer practices.
The researchers noted the apps have been installed on at least 100 million devices.
Google said it has investigated their findings, and taken remedial action on certain apps.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA
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