Tony Berman
Sr. Product Manager | TRUSTe

The FTC today released a report highlighting the concerning fact very little information about the data collection or sharing practices is provided in apps targeted at children. According to the FTC, “right now, it is almost impossible to figure out which apps collect data and what they do with it. The kids app ecosystem needs to wake up, and we want to work collaboratively with industry to help ensure parents have the information they need.”

Disclosure of data collection and use policies in mobile apps, or to be more specific, the lack of disclosure, is a problem that extends beyond the kids privacy space. All users, not just parents, should have easy access to the information they need so that they can make informed decisions when deciding on what applications to use.

TRUSTe believes that every mobile application should have, as the FTC puts it, “simple and short disclosures or icons that are easy to find and understand on the small screen of a mobile device.” TRUSTe has solutions available today for app developers to create a privacy policy that meets these criteria.

TRUSTe’s Mobile Privacy Policy Generator provides developers with a simple tool to create their own mobile policy within minutes. The great thing for developers is that this tool is currently free. Developers are encouraged to take advantage of this special deal, to get a mobile privacy policy similar to the examples shown below.

Sample privacy policy optimized for mobile:
Link to your mobile policy from within your app store listing and from within your app.

When a user clicks on an icon, he/she will be presented with the relevant disclosure based on the developer’s selections during the privacy policy creation process.

Mobile app certification
Application developers wishing to give their users even more confidence in their data collection and use practices have the option to certify their application’s data disclosures with TRUSTe. Certified apps can display the TRUSTe Certified Privacy Seal in their app to provide consumers with a greater level of confidence when using the app. For apps targeted at children, TRUSTe can help developers certify their app as being compliant with COPPA under our Children’s Certification program.

Bottom line___ there is no excuse for developers not to have a privacy policy for their apps.