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App marketplaces urged to make privacy policies clear

Privacy authorities urge app marketplaces to make privacy policies clear

11 December 2014

The Office of the NZ Privacy Commissioner is among 23 overseas privacy enforcement partners that are calling on app marketplaces to make it mandatory for mobile app developers to post links to privacy policies prior to download if they’re going to collect personal information.

The privacy authorities are raising the issue in an open letter to the operators of seven app marketplaces, including Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Having privacy information prior to download is critical as it allows individuals to decide whether they comfortable with the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information before the app is even on their device.

Without this information, it is difficult for individuals to provide meaningful consent, the privacy regulators say.

The privacy authorities’ open letter can be viewed here.

The joint recommendation follows a mobile app privacy sweep by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) that found many popular mobile apps were seeking access to large amounts of personal information without adequately explaining how that information would be used.

The Office of the NZ Privacy Commissioner, along with overseas partners, examined over one thousand mobile apps and found that 85 per cent of them failed to clearly explain how they would collect, use and disclose personal information.

To assist businesses and app developers, the NZ Privacy Commissioner has published guidance to help them understand their legal obligations under the Privacy Act when collecting personal information through mobile apps. The Need to Know or Nice to Have guidance is available here.

ENDS


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