The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a staff report outlining a series of recommendations for companies operating in the mobile arena, including mobile platforms, app developers, ad networks, analytics companies and app developer trade associations.
With mobile on the rise, the FTC has expressed increasing concern in regards to consumer privacy. Most recently social networking app Path incurred an $800,000 civil penalty charge for allegedly deceiving users by collecting personal information from their mobile devices without knowledge or consent.
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who will be stepping down from his post on 15 Feb, was quoted in Bloomberg telling reporters in a conference call that “much more prescriptive laws” may be on the horizon in the near future if companies “don’t wake up and do the right thing,” naming privacy as a “quintessential bipartisan issued in Congress.”
The mobile-privacy recommendations released by the FTC describe the exponential growth of mobile services, and outline both the variety of benefits as well as the many privacy concerns that go along with them. The report is meant to be used as a best-practices guideline for companies to use moving forward.
The report states: “FTC staff strongly encourages companies in the mobile ecosystem to work expeditiously to implement the recommendations in this report. Doing so likely will result in enhancing the consumer trust that is so vital to companies operating in the mobile environment. Moving forward, as the mobile landscape evolves, the FTC will continue to closely monitor developments in this space and consider additional ways it can help businesses effectively provide privacy information to consumers.”
As of yet, the report is still just a list of recommendations, but if Leibowitz’s predictions and the above excerpt are any indication, it may reflect a warning to companies to watch how they conduct themselves in regards to consumer privacy and data protection in order to avoid stricter regulation in the future.