OAIC releases privacy guide for mobile app developers

Guide recommends developers create short privacy notices

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OACI) has unveiled a guide designed to help mobile app developers embed better privacy practices into their products.

The guide, <i>Mobile privacy: A better practice guide for mobile app developers</i>, recommends that developers use short privacy notices rather than lengthy policies which are hard to read on a small screen.

According to OAIC's 2013 Community Attitudes to Privacy survey, six in 10 Australians chose not to use certain smartphone apps because of concerns about the way their personal information would be used.

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said that app developers should adopt a “privacy by design” approach from the beginning of development to make sure an app is privacy friendly.

“The mobile apps that take privacy seriously will be the ones that stand out from the crowd and gain user trust,” he said in a statement.

According to Pilgrim, consumers need to have “informed consent” so they can decide whether or not to install an app.

Informed consent requires that users be told about the privacy implications of an app in a way they can understand.

“App developers should make it easy by using a privacy dashboard and in-text notices where you tell users what will happen with their information in real time,” he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Tags privacymobile appsdevelopersTimothy PilgrimOAIC

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