FTC Report Says App Developers Need Privacy Policies

App Developers need Privacy PoliciesTake a look at some interesting data on the need for app developers to provide their app users with privacy policies from the Federal Trade Commission:

A June 2012 study of 150 of the most popular app developers across three leading platforms – Apple’s iTunes app store, Google’s Play app store, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire app store – reveals how much more work needs to take place. See Future of Privacy Forum, FPF Mobile Apps Study (June 2012). For example, the study found that only 28% of paid apps and 48% of free apps available in Apple’s iTunes app store included a privacy policy or link to a privacy policy on the app promotion page.

The top apps in Google’s Play store fared even worse. There, only 12% of paid apps and 20% of free apps examined provided access to a privacy policy through the app store. The Commission staff’s kids app reports reached similar conclusions, noting the paucity of information provided to parents before they or their children downloaded popular children’s apps. See FTC Staff, Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing, supra note 28, at 1; FTC Staff, Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade, supra note 33, at 4-6. Oddly enough, free privacy policies are available online that comply with all the rules from the FTC, Google Play, Apple and others. main-logo

To address this problem, the California Attorney General recently sent warning letters to 100 app developers notifying them that they are not in compliance with California law, which requires the posting of a privacy policy. The developers were given thirty days to conspicuously post a privacy policy within their app that informs users of what personally identifiable information about them is being collected and what will be done with that private information. See Press Release, Office of the Attorney General of California, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Notifies Mobile App Developers of Non-Compliance with California Privacy Law (Oct. 30, 2012). In addition, the California AG has sued Delta Airlines, one of the recipients of the warning letter.

So if you want to start causing problems with California, the FTC, Google Play, Apple and your potential and current customers, don’t worry about providing a privacy policy. For the rest of you app developers who want to stay in business for a while, contact freeprivacypolicy.com for a free, zero-obligation privacy policy. 

Most of this information from this article is found in the Federal Trade Commission’s 2013 Report on Privacy Policies that you can read here.