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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : September 15, 2014

Apps are asking users for too much personal data and providing too little privacy information

Improvements are needed in the way mobile apps access and use users' personal data, according to a new survey by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network.

by Helen Leggatt

The Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN), made up of privacy regulators from around the globe, recently released findings of their survey that shows 85% of the 1,211 apps analyzed do not adequately explain the reasons they collect personal data, how they intend to use that data and who they share it with.

In fact, more than a third of the apps asked for significantly more data access permissions than were deemed necessary. Furthermore, more than half of the apps (59%) made it very hard for users to find basic privacy information. Some (43%) buried key privacy information within excessively long and complicated privacy policies or presented them in a font so small it was unreadable on a mobile device. Almost a third (30%) provided no privacy information whatsoever.

As a member of the GPEN, the U.K's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) examined 50 of the top apps released in the U.K.

"Apps are becoming central to our lives, so it is important we understand how they work and what they are doing with our information. Today's 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," said ICO Group Manager for Technology, Simon Rice.

"The ICO and the other GPEN members will be writing out to those developers where there is clear room for improvement. We will also be publishing guidance to explain the steps people can take to help protect their information when using mobile apps."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: apps, mobile, personal data, privacy

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