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The non-profit watchdog group Campaign for Accountability today released a report revealing "major weaknesses" in Apple's App Store child safety measures that allow minors to easily access adult content such as pornography and gambling.

app-store-blue-banner.jpg

As part of its Tech Transparency Project, the watchdog group said it set up an Apple ID for a fictitious 14-year-old user and used it to download and test 75 apps in the App Store across several adult-oriented genres: dating, hookups, online chat, and casino/gambling. Despite all of these apps being designated as 17+ on the App Store, the investigation found the underage user could easily evade the apps' age restrictions.

Among the findings presented included a dating app that presented pornography before asking the user's age, adult chat apps with explicit images that never asked the user's age, and a gambling app that allowed the minor to deposit and withdraw money.

The investigation also identified broader flaws in Apple's approach to child safety, claiming that Apple and many apps "essentially pass the buck to each other" when it comes to blocking underage users. The report added that a number of apps design their age verification mechanisms "in a way that minimizes the chance of learning the user is underage," and claimed that Apple takes no discernible steps to prevent this.

"Apple claims that it maintains a tight grip over App Store creators to protect consumers from harmful content, but it hasn't even put up the most obvious safeguard to keep underage users safe," said the Campaign for Accountability's executive director Michelle Kuppersmith, in a press release accompanying the investigation. "If Apple already knows that a user is under 18, how can it let the user download adult apps in the first place?"

The investigation concluded that Apple has created an ecosystem that is much more dangerous for minors than the company advertises. More details and methodology can be found on the Tech Transparency Project website.

Update: In response to the findings, Apple said the App Store has proved to be a safe and trusted place to discover and download apps for over a decade, adding that parental control features built into iOS and iPadOS allow parents to choose what apps children can download, how long they can spend each day on specific apps and websites, and ensure children can only buy or download apps appropriate for them.

For its investigation, the watchdog group did not activate parental controls on the hypothetical 14-year-old user's iPhone.

Article Link: Watchdog Investigation Finds 'Major Weaknesses' in Apple's App Store Child Safety Measures
 
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Apleeseed84

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2020
277
160
Even with screen time and Apple Family accounts the amount of apps that still filter through my kids stuff is insane, all I get is an approval or denial notice and don’t get the App Store pop up unless I’m using my iPad, it’s inconsistent
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 6502a
Feb 19, 2016
553
899
The non-profit watchdog group Campaign for Accountability today released a report revealing "major weaknesses" in Apple's App Store child safety measures that allow minors to easily access adult content such as pornography and gambling.
I'd say hands-off parenting is a bigger "weakness" here. Outsourcing supervision of what your kids are doing online to companies or local governments is, in a word, dumb. And professional activists? Even worse.
 
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Octavius8

macrumors regular
Oct 25, 2016
189
255
An argument to allow 3rd party stores… the end is nigh for AppStore as we know it… first Korea, then EU, then USA, then China, then the world… anyway, currently the ripoff apps abound without control. Poor Apple, did very little to actually control the App Store. Machine detection is not as effective as human detection…. Trillion dollar company and can’t work it out…
 

Khedron

Suspended
Sep 27, 2013
2,561
5,735
Apple only cares about children when it can pass the cost of protecting them onto customers.

Which is to say, they don’t care about children.

Also, Tim knowingly approved child labour for three years because it saved him money, so he can shut the fudge up.
 

MauiPa

macrumors 68020
Apr 18, 2018
2,313
3,315
So if I could paraphrase the study. If you don't turn on parental controls, the parental controls are off, dah! Are they arguing that big corporations take away parental rights and enforce them on their own? Does the law even support this? If anyone is interested, apple gives an excellent description of how parents can set up controls for their minor devices here:

 

MauiPa

macrumors 68020
Apr 18, 2018
2,313
3,315
The issue isn't really the hazards of the App Store for youngsters, but the false misleading rhetoric perpetually spewing out of Cupertino that the App Store is a safe place to get apps
BS! You buy the phone, you are the parent, there are parental controls, grow a pair and use them. Here is. good tutorial from Apple on how to do it:


Or do you advocate, parents cede their rights and responsibilities to corporations?
 

Khedron

Suspended
Sep 27, 2013
2,561
5,735
Wow, everyone and their mom is criticizing Apple’s measures to try and prevent child porn from being spread around. I never realized there were so many creeps in the world.

(Go ahead and whine at me about your privacy 🙄)

Not just privacy. Cost. Apple has unilaterally decided to use its customers resources to perform checks on themselves. Checks which Apple hasn’t been doing for years even though they could because they didn’t want to pay the bill.
 
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