4 Grounds Why Mobile Apps Need To Behold Privacy Policy

Manish Jain
Manish Jain, Co-Founder & Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions
Published on Mar 20, 2019 in App Development
4 Grounds Why Mobile Apps Need To Behold Privacy Policy

Mobile apps have to satisfy various privacy requirements. App publishers are often obligated to provide a privacy policy and notify users of their apps' privacy practices. Privacy policies must be enforced to identify potential inconsistencies in mobile apps before they become prevalent.

An app has to function as described in its privacy policy. Therefore there is a need to have such a system or measure to help analyze and predict Android vs. iOS apps compliance with privacy requirements.

As an example, the privacy policy of Snapchat, a social media chat platform, used to state to not ask for, track or access any location-specific information. In reality, Snapchat’s Android app transmitted Wi-Fi and cell-based location data from users’ devices to analytics service providers. This was undetected until it was cross-checked by Snapchat’s data deletion mechanism. This report was picked up by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and brought to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and a formal investigation was launched that required Snapchat to implement a comprehensive privacy program.

What are the reasons why apps require a privacy policy?

A mobile app needs to have a privacy policy in case it collects information from users. It is important for the app authorities to comply with the law, stay above board with third-party distributors and build trust with consumers.

The privacy policies vary as they depend upon the type of the app. In addition to the personally identifiable information, there can be other such data that can be used for objectionable acts. As an example, the profile name used within an app might make you feel that you have to safeguard your true identity, but if the same details, demographics are compared with the profile information on another app the hackers might be able to deduce who you are. If the mobile app collects any type of personal or identifiable data, whether it is to be used in-house or is to be shared externally, then there is a requirement to have an app privacy policy.

Privacy of data is of utmost importance for major developed countries around the world:

For the United States, there is no law that enforces companies to follow an app privacy policy. Instead of this, there are various federal and state laws that enforce some provisions on data privacy. These essentially include:

FTC short for the Federal Trade Commission is the main regulator of data protection within the United States.

For European Union – All 28 countries are mandated to abide by guidelines standardized by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It has also imposed strict rules on controlling and processing personally identifiable information.

Australia follows the privacy act in 1988 to govern data privacy for their mobile apps. This includes safeguarding an individual's personal information and governing collection and storage of that information adequately. This act groups 13 principles that must be abided by.

In Canada, Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) has enforced to take measures to protect, collect and use consumer data adequately.

The reason to enforce privacy policies is that if organizations collect, store or share personal data then they are accountable for almost every state, country, state-sponsored organizations to explain what they plan to do with that data.

1. Third Party Distributors As Well Require Privacy Policies

Third party distributors have to display their privacy policies even if they are not collecting any sensitive personal data. These are particularly designed to save the company from any litigation. Big companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook display their privacy policies to make users understand why and what data they collect. When Google makes use of a third party service to collect data or display ads using the Google Analytics or AdWords tool

2. Builds Trust

There is a subconscious belief in minds of people when a company displays their privacy policy. They start trusting that company even more and download apps or share their personal details more easily on the platform.

3. Reduce Mobile App Cost and Retain Their Customers

App privacy policies ensure that customers trust the app, and will not apprehend to make use of it. If the app makes them believe that their account details are in safe hands, customers will not go anywhere. On the other hand, a company without a comprehensive privacy policy runs the risk of being sued by a consumer or a group of consumers. Many big companies like Delta Airlines, Snapchat and Google have faced lawsuits over questionable privacy policies earlier.

4. Helpful for App Development Services

Some popular privacy policy generation platforms:

  • PrivacyPolicies.com
  • TermsFeed
  • FreePrivacyPolicy.com
  • Trust Guard

Privacy policy generation services are effective channels for the developers to navigate through the legal language and state/federal statutes and create a clear app privacy policy.

Concluding Instance

Deviation from following a privacy standard may cause hefty and reputational penalties to the concerned firm. Without a proper privacy policy, the damage caused by a consumer, government or any third parties might be too expensive to bear. Every organization is required to comply by the rules mandated by their respective state government for protection of user data. It has become more severe with the emergence of mobile phones and large synchronization of data amongst the mobile devices. The clients and other collaborators need the assurance that their data is not being misused and does not conflict with data protection regulations. Data has to be collected for clearly stated purposes and must not be stored unless absolutely necessary.

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About the author
Manish JainCo-Founder & Managing Director at Konstant Infosolutions

Manish Jain is the co-founder and Managing Director of Konstant Infosolutions, a mobile app development company based out in India and the USA. Being a technology enthusiast with 15+ experience, his strategic advice and guidance have provided a compe...

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