Research from Me2B Alliance reveals that most school apps transmit data and that Android apps are eight times more likely to send data to “high-risk” third parties than iOS.
Me2B Alliance is a non-profit organization born with the aim of “promote respectful treatment of people through technology“. The study included a random sample of 73 mobile apps used by 38 schools in the United States, covering at least half a million students, families and teachers.
In the big picture that includes both iOS and Android, Me2B found that 6 out of 10 school apps send student data to third parties and that on average “each app sends data to 10.6 third-party data channels“. These included advertising platforms such as Google, to which about half (49%) of apps sent student data, as well as Facebook (14%).
Going into the specifics, the study revealed that Android performs worse than iOS. 91% of Android apps send data to third parties considered high-risk compared to only 26% of iOS apps. Additionally, 20% of Android apps send data to third parties at very high risk, compared to 2.6% of iOS apps.
This means that Android is 3.5 times more likely than iOS to share student data with high-risk third parties and 8 times more likely to share them with very high risk third parties. Me2B says Apple’s new tracking transparency feature, launched with iOS 14.5, reduces risk to users and widens the gap to Android.
Furthermore, neither the Google Play Store nor the Apple App Store include details on which third parties are receiving the data, not allowing users to understand where their data is going.