FTC mobile privacy guidelines put mobile ecosystem and CIOs on notice | Regulatory Doctor

FTC | Mobile Privacy Guidelines | Regulatory Doctor

The Federal Trade Commission’s new guidelines to improve mobile privacy for consumers don’t much worry CIO Niel Nickolaisen. A veteran IT professional who currently oversees technology and information at Western Governors University, a fast-growing private, nonprofit university in Salt Lake City, Nickolaisen said he follows the golden rule in his approach to application data privacy.

If I would not like someone to know something about me, I don’t build that into anything I ask someone else to use,” Nickolaisen said. As long as he is transparent about collecting data, asks customers for permission to collect their data and treats data “with the same respect I would want my data treated,” he figures he’s in the clear. “Of course, the FTC could prove me wrong and issue regulations that prescribe how I do this,” he said. Now that could throw a monkey wrench into the whole mobile ecosystem.

Indeed, in its report released last week, the FTC, the nation’s chief privacy agency, made clear its recommendations for improving mobile privacy disclosures to consumers and customers are intended for a broad universe of “key players in the rapidly expanding mobile marketplace.” Those key players range from the mega-operating system providers, such as Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry and Microsoft, to app developers to advertising networks, analytics companies, app developer trade associations and academics. For each of them, the FTC has recommendations. Mobile platform providers, for example, are urged to offer a do-not-track mechanism for smartphones and consider making icons that show the transmission of user data, among other safeguards. App developers should have a privacy policy that can be readily accessed through the app store, get permission from consumers before collecting and sharing sensitive information, and make sure they understand the software used by their partner networks (advertising and analytics firms) so they can actually provide accurate disclosures to consumers.

via FTC mobile privacy guidelines put mobile ecosystem and CIOs on notice.


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