FTC Releases Mobile App Guidelines

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Administration officials, industry stakeholders and public-interest groups continue to work on mobile app privacy guidelines, but in the meantime, the Federal Trade Commission Wednesday published a guide to help developers comply with current truth in advertising requirements and "basic privacy principles."

"Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right from the Start," which was endorsed Wednesday by CTIA: The Wireless Association, suggested the following rules of the road that all app developers should "consider."

They are: "tell the truth about what your app can do; build privacy considerations in from the start; offer choices that are easy to find and easy to use; honor your privacy promises; protect kids' privacy; collect sensitive information only with consent; and keep user data secure."

CTIA endorsed the guidelines, but suggested they were a case of already there/doing that. "These guidelines are based on the FTC's well-established Fair Information Practices, which have also been covered for several years in CTIA's Wireless Consumer Code and Location Based Service Guidelines," the group said. "Whether it's around consumers' privacy, including kids and COPPA to disclosing information clearly and conspicuously, CTIA has been and will continue to be strong advocates and supporters of these practices."

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is hosting a series of stakeholder meetings to come up with ways to bake such protections into a privacy Bill of Rights, with their initial focus on mobile apps.

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