Mobile application marketplaces have been gaining popularity as the number of smartphones and tablets has grown across consumer and business circles. With this growth has come a need for increased data security, and the Federal Trade Commission has released a report detailing ways that app makers and marketplaces can better inform users and customers about their data practices. Most recommendations in the new report, entitled “Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency,” focus on ensuring that people will get easy-to-understand disclosures about what data is being collected by these companies and how they will use it.
“The mobile world is expanding and innovating at breathtaking speed, allowing consumers to do things that would have been hard to imagine only a few years ago,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “These best practices will help to safeguard consumer privacy and build trust in the mobile marketplace, ensuring that the market can continue to thrive.”
The FTC’s report recommends that mobile platforms should provide disclosures to consumers and attain their consent before allowing apps to contain sensitive data, such as where they are located. The agency also believes platforms should consider developing icons to depict transmission of their data, implementing a unified “dashboard” to let customers review the types of data collection they consent to and providing disclosures about other types of data they may collect, such as photos, contacts or calendar entries.
“FTC staff strongly encourages companies in the mobile ecosystem to work expeditiously to implement the recommendations in this report,” the report said. “Doing so likely will result in enhancing the consumer trust that is so vital to companies operating in the mobile environment. Moving forward, as the mobile landscape evolves, the FTC will continue to closely monitor developments in this space and consider additional ways it can help businesses effectively provide privacy information to consumers.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already offered up some guidelines of how it might look to rule over medical apps, according to MobiHealthNews. The agency said these guidelines were years in the making and focus on defining a medical app and also talking about what will not be covered. The FDA wants to put data security steps in place that each app, platform and developer needs to go through to be cleared for use.
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro