85 per cent of Apps Failing to Provide Privacy Information

  • Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
  • Author: Tim Maytom
  • Share this article:

Big Data Formula Graphs Blackboard85 per cent of mobile apps worldwide fail to provide basic privacy information about how they use the personal information they access, a survey has revealed.

The survey of over 1,200 mobile apps by 26 privacy regulators was carried out by Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), a pan-governmental body aimed at fostering cross-border co-operation among privacy authorities.

Among the surveys findings was the fact that 59 per cent of apps left users struggling to find the basic privacy information about how their data would be used, while 1 in 3 apps asked for an excessive number of permissions to access additional personal information.

43 per cent of apps failed to tailor their privacy communications to mobiles small screens, either by providing the information in print too small to be clearly legible, or by hiding the information in lengthy privacy policies that required extensive scrolling or clicking through multiple pages.

The research was able to find some examples of good practice, such as apps that provided basic overviews of how data would be used, with links to more detailed information if the individual required it, as well as the use of just-in-time notifications, that informed users of the potential collection or use of personal data  before it happened.

“Apps are becoming central to our lives, so it is important we understand how they work and what they are doing with our information,” said Simon Rice, group manager for technology at the Information Commissioners Office, which carried out the research in the UK. “Todays results show that many app developers are still failing to provide this information in a way that is clear and understandable to the average consumer.”