Report from the FTC Regarding Privacy for App Developers

Amazon Google Play iTunesBecause of the drastic change in technology, with mobile cellular devices weighing more than two pounds and only used for making phone calls in the 1980s, to more than 217 million smartphones being purchased in 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a staff report called Mobile Privacy Disclosures, Building Trust Through Transparency. Some app developers might think that only Amazon, Google, and Apple care about the privacy of online and mobile consumers. But so does the FTC.

According to the FTC Report from 2013, app developers should:

● Have a privacy policy and make sure it is easily accessible through the app stores;

● Provide just-in-time disclosures and obtain affirmative express consent before collecting and sharing sensitive information (to the extent the platforms have not already provided such disclosures and obtained such consent);

● Improve coordination and communication with ad networks and other third parties, such as analytics companies, that provide services for apps so the app iii FTC Staff Report developers can provide accurate disclosures to consumers. For example, app developers often integrate third-party code to facilitate advertising or analytics within an app with little understanding of what information the third party is collecting and how it is being used. App developers need to better understand the software they are using through improved coordination and communication with ad networks and other third parties.

● Consider participating in self-regulatory programs, trade associations, and industry organizations, which can provide guidance on how to make uniform, short-form privacy disclosures.

As noted in the 2013 FTC report, when people use their mobile devices, they are sharing information about their daily lives with a multitude of players. This is even more true in 2016. How many companies are privy to our personal, private information? How often do they access such content and how do they use it or share it? What do consumers understand about who is getting their information and how they are using it? These are all relevant questions – and app users are entitled to the same privacy rights by app developers as e-commerce business owners in other industries.

For access to the entire 36 page report from the FTC, Click Here.


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