Worldwide privacy regulator, Global Privacy Enforcement Network, has revealed in a study that a major fraction of mobile apps in use today fail to provide or comply with appropriate privacy insight.
The examination of privacy information provided by 1,211 mobile apps, by 26 privacy regulators from across the world found certain key statistics that were unsettling if not alarming:
- 85% of the apps surveyed failed to clearly explain how they were collecting, using and disclosing personal information.
- (59%) of the apps left users struggling to find basic privacy information.
- Almost 1 in 3 apps appeared to request an excessive number of permissions to access additional personal information.
- 43% of the apps failed to tailor privacy communications to the small screen, either by providing information in too small a print, or by hiding the information in lengthy privacy policies that required scrolling or clicking through multiple pages
The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office reports that the GPEN report did find apps that provide information regarding usage of personal data, and further assist individuals with detailed information if requested. What they found commendable with some of these app providers is the readily sent out notifications that “informed users of the potential collection, or use, of personal data as it was about to happen.”
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Simon Rice, the ICO Group Manager for Technology added, “Apps are becoming central to our lives, so it is important we understand how they work and what they are doing with our information. Today’s results show that many app developers are still failing to provide this information in a way that is clear and understandable to the average consumer.”
He further notified, “The ICO and the other GPEN members will be writing out to those developers where there is clear room for improvement. We will also be publishing guidance to explain the steps people can take to help protect their information when using mobile apps.”
Experts point out that gaining user trust will play an important role and app developers are realising that, to the point that transparency is gradually becoming a marketing strategy.
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(Image Credit: Daniel Go)