FTC Takes Action on Mobile App Privacy

On February 1, the FTC issued the staff report Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency, which provides a series of consumer privacy-focused recommendations for key stakeholders in the mobile app ecosystem, including developers, platform providers, third-party advertising networks, and others. The Report responds to the explosive growth in smartphone use by consumers within the past few years and focuses on best practices to ensure that consumers receive timely and easy-to-understand information about the personal data that apps collect and how that data is used or shared with third parties.

In addition to releasing the staff report, the Commission announced two other items that reflect the Commission’s current focus on mobile app privacy. First, the FTC introduced a new business guide that complements the privacy disclosure report with a set of data security best practices tailored to mobile app developers. Second, the FTC announced a settlement with social networking app developer Path, Inc. over charges that it deceived users about its data collection practices and violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule by collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent.

This Kelley Drye client advisory provides a detailed summary of the FTC’s latest efforts relating to consumer privacy in the mobile app ecosystem.