FTC Develops Recommendations for Mobile Privacy

/// FTC Develops Recommendations for Mobile Privacy

February 21, 2013  |  Blog

If you are involved in the mobile industry, you may have heard that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released a report recommending ways for business owners like you to ensure consumers are aware of each company’s privacy policy. The report serves as a helpful reminder that members of the public like to know what app developers, advertising networks, and other businesses intend to do with their personal information. Keeping this in the forefront of your mind can help you build up your reputation as an entrepreneur consumers can trust.

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz listed the FTC’s suggestions, most of which vary from one industry to another. This means the recommendations for app developers and mobile platforms are slightly different than the ones for advertising networks and trade associations within the mobile industry. But you will see that the general themes stay the same across most businesses, and they can be summed up as the following:

  • Consumers need to be given disclosure in terms they understand, and they should be asked to agree to these terms before mobile apps can collect private information.
  • People should have access to the privacy policy of apps before they download them.
  • Apps should alert users when they are transmitting sensitive data.
  • Adding a Do Not Track tool to smartphones may help consumers prevent advertising networks from tracking them when they use apps.
  • Trade associations can help app developers put icons on apps that have a particular privacy policy so it is immediately obvious to consumers how their data will be used.

The FTC’s report also details the charges lodged against Path, a social media tool that reportedly did not let consumers know that information from their smartphone’s address book would be used to suggest friends to add to the app. Plus, the FTC claimed Path collected personal information from children without seeking parental consent, which is apparently why the app’s owners are being charged $800,000.

Knowing the rules about mobile privacy for consumers may prevent other app owners from facing similar charges. This is why it is helpful to stay updated on the recommendations if you plan to stay in the mobile industry for long.

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