FTC Releases Mobile Privacy Report After Public Letter from Consumer Watchdog

By Jacqueline Lee February 01, 2013

Advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog has released a letter that it sent to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking Congress to enact “Do Not Track” (DNT) legislation. The proposed legislation would give consumers protection regarding data collected about their online behaviors and how that data was transferred between organizations.

On the same day of the letter’s release, the FTC issued a staff report about online privacy. Specifically, the report focuses on protecting mobile privacy by getting information to consumers about when data is collected on mobile platforms.

The FTC report issued a number of recommendations for mobile platforms, app developers, advertisers and the scholarly community. For mobile platforms, the FTC recommended just-in-time disclosure of data collection, dashboards showing how apps collect data, an icon showing the transmission of consumer data and a set of developer best practices.

For developers, the FTC recommended participation in trade organizations or self-regulatory programs that would set standards regarding short-form privacy disclosures. When integrating third-party code into apps, developers should know how the code facilitates information collection and what information the third party is obtaining.

Advertisers and other third parties collecting information should work with mobile platforms to implement a DNT procedure. The scholarly community, says the FTC, should work to educate developers about privacy issues.

The recommendations from the FTC are accompanied by a business guide entitled Mobile App Developers: Start with Security. However, the FTC stopped short of endorsing DNT laws to protect consumers.

In the letter to the FTC, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director, John M. Simpson, pointed to a bill introduced last year by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) that would create DNT laws. According to Consumer Watchdog, Rockefeller intends to reintroduce the bill sometime this year.

Simpson says that an FTC endorsement of the bill would at least get the advertising industry back to the negotiating table.

“We call on you and the entire Commission to endorse the urgent need for Do Not Track legislation,” Simpson stated. “If nothing else, the threat of legislation could be the stick that prompts a recalcitrant advertising industry to stop its foot dragging and re-engage in real negotiations.”




Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Writer

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Rising Mobile Broadband Accessibility and Usage Impacting Global Social and Economic Growth

By: Laura Stotler    5/28/2015

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are having a direct impact on social and economic development, according to interesting new research…

Read More

Avago Technologies Acquisition of Broadcom: Let The Chips Fall Where They May

By: Peter Bernstein    5/28/2015

With a combined valuation of roughly $77 Billion and revenues of $15 Billion once the transaction closes the new Avago will have the human and technic…

Read More

Digital Ad Viewability: The New Metric for Monetization

By: Tara Seals    5/28/2015

Verizon Communications raised a few eyebrows earlier this month when it announced plans to acquire AOL for $4.4 billion. It seemed a lot to pay just t…

Read More

Future Watch Apps May Surprise You

By: Mike Russo    5/27/2015

If there's one thing that's abundantly clear about the Apple Watch, it's that this isn't your grandpa's timepiece. Oh, it tells time, sure. The rest i…

Read More

Why Apple iOS is Dominating Google's Android

By: Rob Enderle    5/27/2015

Apple's iOS platform is kicking Google Android's butt all over the Smartphone playground. This battle has been fascinating to watch because it seemed …

Read More