In December, 23 privacy authorities – many of which are members of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) – signed an open letter to the operators of seven app marketplaces, urging them to improve consumers’ access to privacy information on mobile apps.

The letter states that:

  • Mobile apps that collect data in and through mobile devices within an app marketplace store must provide users with privacy practice information (for example, privacy policy links)
  • Privacy policy links must clearly inform users about the collection and use of their data before they download the app
  • Marketplace operators must implement the necessary protections to ensure the privacy practice transparency of apps offered in their stores

This letter comes in light of this year’s privacy sweep which we reported on in September. One observation of particular concern was that 85% of the mobile apps reviewed failed to explain clearly how they were collecting, using and disclosing personal information.

With the proliferation of apps, it is clear that privacy and data protection authorities are keen to ensure that apps provide transparency to consumers, and a good privacy policy may help app developers to stand out from the competition.