Mobile app marketplaces urged to do more to promote better information on privacy

Out-Law News | 12 Dec 2014 | 2:36 pm |

Mobile 'app' marketplace operators should require app developers to include a link to their privacy policy before allowing those apps to be downloaded via their platform, a number of global privacy regulators have said.

The privacy commissioner of Canada, the UK's information commissioner and data protection authorities from France, Germany and Hong Kong were among 23 regulators that signed an open letter to Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, BlackBerry and Amazon which called on the companies to do more to improve consumers' access to privacy information on mobile apps.

"Given the wide-range and potential sensitivity of the data stored in mobile devices, we firmly believe that privacy practice information (for example, privacy policy links) should be required (and not optional) for apps that collect data in and through mobile devices within an app marketplace store," the regulators said in their open letter. "Such links provide a simple and convenient manner for individuals to obtain privacy-related information which they need to be meaningfully informed regarding the collection and use of their data before making the decision to download the app."

"All the undersigned privacy enforcement authorities believe that an app marketplace operator should, acting as a responsible corporate citizen, make the basic commitment to require each app that can access or collect personal information, to provide users with timely access to the app’s privacy policy. We therefore expect a marketplace operator would put in practice, if it has not already, this advice, and implement the necessary protections, to ensure the privacy practice transparency of apps offered in their stores," they said.