With a reported 25 billion iPhone apps and nearly 20 billion Android apps on the market, one would think a user’s personal data was kept private. However, a new report from the Future of Privacy Forum, an advocacy group for online practices, suggests otherwise.
The survey released Wednesday, July 11, revealed a need for more industry standards when it came to app developers. Although the results indicate developers are moving in that general direction, there still needs to be an across the board written policies for all apps.
Google Play on the other hand has apparently always shown a more dedicated practice toward privacy policies with nearly 70 percent of its free apps already protected. The study, however, did show a six percent jump from 2011. Meanwhile, their paid apps had a much lower starting percentage, but went from 30 percent to 48 percent.
According to the report, out of the 50 apps surveyed on the iOS App Store platform, 12 requested precise location information; only 10 of those 12 had privacy policies. Same with Google Play platform as 14 out of the 50 apps surveyed asked for location information and only 10 of those had privacy policies.
“Developers have access to tremendous amounts of very sensitive data about their customers,” said Justin Brookman, Center for Democracy and Technology’s director of consumer privacy.
In an effort to educate and give developers the tools necessary, the Future of Privacy Forum and the Center for Democracy and Technology are releasing a publication titled “Best Practices for Mobile Application Developers.”
“We’re offering these Best Practices guidelines to help well-meaning developers preserve user’s privacy without stifling the innovation and convenience offered by new platforms,” said Brookman.
“Enforcement activity by the FTC and the California Attorney General, as well as the efforts of the platform providers, are driving the significant progress we have seen by app developers to do the needed work to put privacy policies in place,” Future of Privacy Forum Christopher Wolf added. “The Administration’s multi-stakeholder process focusing on apps and launching in Washington this week can build on this progress to further ensure that consumers understand what they are getting when they download an app.”
 Future of Privacy Forum Study Results Show App Developers Heed Call for Privacy Policies