Keeping Mobile Private


In the ever-expanding mobile advertising space, consumers are targeted by advertisements everywhere they go, whether they’re playing games, accessing social networks, or searching online. As mobile phones have become more widely adopted, consumers have consistently voiced concerns about their mobile privacy, with more than 1 in 3 consumers identifying privacy as their number one concern when using mobile applications.

Now, after two years of input from mobile marketing stakeholders, comprehensive consumer privacy controls for mobile have been developed. In order to facilitate greater mobile user privacy, the Digital Advertising Alliance unveiled a program standardizing privacy practices among advertisers, agencies, media, and tech companies.

Consumers will face more transparent practices regarding data collection across mobile apps as a result of this program, which assures that the same control that consumers have in desktop ads will apply on mobile. When consumers browse the web, utilize different apps, or use location-based services, their privacy is now guaranteed.

In addition, there have been moves at the federal level to agree upon a standard code of conduct for mobile app developers as it relates to protecting the personal information of its users’. According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, developers in the mobile space could start testing the new ‘disclosure code’ as early as this week to see how it impacts their business.

Much of the new code includes disclosing to consumers what is being collected, how it’s being shared, and how it will be used. There has been some push back from consumer advocacy groups that the requirements are extensive and cloudy, leaving consumers with little understanding of what was actually being done with their information.

Some of the proposed notices would include disclosing the capturing of:

  • Biometrics
  • Browser history
  • Phone or text logs
  • Contacts
  • Financial, medical and health info
  • Location and media (photos/video)

Companies adopting the proposal would agree to use standardized onscreen notices in detailing data collection across smartphone and tablet apps. Testing of the effectiveness of the new code is being done independently given the fragmented and diverse nature of the mobile app space.

The rapid growth of all things mobile: apps, ad networks, marketing agencies, and devices, presents new challenges to the industry. We faced many of the same privacy concerns when the Internet became an essential tool for industry and consumers to conduct business. It will continue to take time and collaboration between government, industry and privacy advocates to find what the best practices are around data collection and consumer privacy.

As members of the IAB, we strongly support standardization and compliance across the mobile industry. We’re working closely with industry partners to help define the future of mobile advertising and provide the best user experience possible.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on mobile privacy! How much user information is too much information for developers?

Topics: Industry News