Mobile applications furtively collect information from consumers, but a new program initiated by the government may mandate greater app transparency. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) rolled out the preliminary draft of a new mobile application “code of conduct.” It is only a code of conduct and not currently enforced by any law
After all of the entanglements with civil liberties and privacy rights, the code is intended to better protect consumers and their privacy. The initiative comes after the White House instructed the NTIA to create a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The program is currently voluntary, but those who opt in must comply with the following criteria.
(a) The types of data the app collects from users and devices,
(c) what third-party organizations the app shares information with and,
(d) the company responsible for the app itself.
If finalized, app publishers will have to provide consumers with notices informing them of how their data will be used. The government specifies that the term data includes biometrics, browser history, phone or text log, contacts, financial info, health information, location and user files. But no regulation would be complete without a few exceptions. So long as the information is entered voluntarily into an open field, app developers are free to use the data without notifying the user.
Mobile app developers stay tuned! If the code of conduct proves successful, you may have to make your apps compliant with the new code in the future.