Last updated: March 8, 2012 - 9:35am
When it comes to privacy and mobile apps, policymakers have a big concern: There’s no rule for that.
Lawmakers and regulators from the Beltway to California are looking at the booming market for apps and drawing the conclusion that the social networks, games and other tools that smartphone owners download onto their mobile devices don’t provide adequate consumer protections. Members of Congress have been firing off letters questioning practices at companies such as Apple and Google while the Federal Trade Commission is mulling over the need for more privacy protections for kids from app makers.
California, meanwhile, is working with app stores to level with consumers about data practices. Even the White House has proposed that mobile privacy — including apps — be one of the first areas for development of voluntary rules for industry to better protect privacy. “Our mobile devices nowadays really hold the sum total of our digital identity,” said Amy Mushahwar, associate at Reed Smith who works with mobile app companies. “For most of us, our smartphone device is really a desktop replacement. And [the administration’s] request for comment, the FTC’s enforcement activities and the Hill’s interest is simply a reflection that everyone is seeing the mobile phone become the primary screen,” she said.
For policymakers skeptical of app privacy practices, there’s been no shortage of mishaps stoking calls for new regulations.
- Sen. Al Franken calls for app privacy policies
- A code of conduct for apps
- May 14 - May 20: Lots of Smoke, But Where's the Fire in Privacy Debate?
- Mobile Network Operators Set Guidelines for App Privacy
- Cybersecurity bill hits snag
- Congress eyes mobile payment apps
- Ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair: Secure Communications Need Protection
- There's An App for That - But At What Cost?
- Groups Ask Parents to Promote FTC Kids Online Privacy Proposals
- Senate tussles over online privacy
- FTC’s New Chief Technologist Lays Out The Limits Of ‘Do Not Track’
- California Attorney General Issues Guidance on How Mobile Apps Can Better Protect Consumer Privacy
- Google strikes back at rules, antitrust, critics
- US Lawmakers Call for Online, Mobile Privacy Legislation
- Web giants tagged for privacy audits