Mobile App Code of Conduct an Important Step Forward

July 25, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration today announced stakeholders in its mobile transparency process will begin testing a voluntary code of conduct for mobile applications. Under the code of conduct, signatories that offer mobile apps to their customers will notify them about what information the app collects and whom it is shared with.

"The American Civil Liberties Union supports this code as a modest but important step forward for consumer privacy. It allows applications to compete on privacy and gives consumers a tool to pick the most privacy friendly applications," said Christopher Calabrese, legislative counsel at the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. "The fact that it took a year to come to agreement on just this single measure, however, makes it clear that we need comprehensive privacy legislation in order to gain meaningful privacy protections for consumers. After all, we should be able to enjoy cool new technologies without giving up our privacy."

Signatories to the code of conduct will disclose whether the app collects information in the following eight areas: biometrics; browser history; phone or text logs; contacts; financial information; health, medical, or therapy information; location data, present and past; and user files, such as photos or videos. They will also inform potential customers whether the information collected by the app is shared with ad networks, carriers, consumer data resellers, data analytics providers, government entities, operating systems and platforms, other apps, and social networks.

For more information on the NTIA code of conduct:
aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty/giving-consumers-essential-transparency-apps

To see samples of how the code will appear on a mobile device:
ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/ntia_ui_comps_update_7.23.pdf

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