Future of Privacy Forum Launches App Privacy Site


Future of Privacy Forum Launches App Privacy Site
Privacy resource portal provides application developer
tools and guidance for responsible privacy practices

WASHINGTON – With hundreds of thousands of online and mobile applications already in use and more being developed, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) today launched a new website to help application developers provide users with privacy protections.  Supported by app developers, platforms and tech companies, ApplicationPrivacy.org is the only hub of its kind containing emerging standards, best practices, privacy guidelines, platform and application store requirements, as well as relevant laws and regulatory guidance.

A recent survey by FPF found that 22 out of the 30 most popular mobile apps lacked even a basic privacy policy where consumers could learn about what data is collected or exchanged when they download the app.  A recent study estimated that by 2016 the worldwide mobile app industry could achieve 44 billion downloads, and according to Facebook, people install 20 million applications every day on their site.   

Christopher Wolf, FPF’s founder and co-chair noted the importance of educating app developers on key data protection principles. “Apps often provide valuable services using people’s contacts, location and profile information.  But unless users trust that their privacy will be protected, the use of Apps will decline and that would be unfortunate, as Apps provide innovative ways to interact over the Internet and contribute to the Internet economy.”

FPF’s director and co-chair Jules Polonetsky emphasized the need to educate more developers about the importance of responsible data practices. “App developers with limited staff or resources can end up being responsible for the data of millions of users.  Platforms and operating systems have roles to play, but app developers themselves need to be responsible for their own practices. We hope that Applicationprivacy.org  will provide a one-stop shop for the one person start-up or the large scale company.”

Facebook, AT&T and Sprint will also be promoting the site to developers to help them navigate the development process.  FPF’s leaders are urging other companies to do the same to help provide developers with this information.

App developers also recognize the value of the site. Sze Wong, CEO at Zerion Software, Inc., a company which creates the app known as iFormBuilder, said, “As a general purpose data collection platform, iFormBuilder stores a lot of private information from our clients around the world.  When we first drafted our

data privacy policy and subsequently the safe harbor provision for Europe, we felt we were on our own. Now developers have a place to get general information and get help. I wish the project was there when we started! ”

Peter Erickson, who is the founder of MoDev, a national mobile developers network, said, “I know our developers spend a lot of time focusing on the privacy issue. Resources like the Future of Privacy Forum’s ApplicatonPrivacy.org site will be a critical resource for navigating the tricky privacy terrain.”

The site will also have an active presence on Facebook and on Twitter, using the handle @AppPrivacy. The website was built with the support of application developers, platforms and tech companies, including:  AT&T, CardStar, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Facebook, Google, Infield Health, Intel, MoDev, Savvy Apps, TRUSTe, Zerion Software, Zynga, and 3ADVANCE.  Shaun Dakin, a fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum played a lead role in the development of the site. 

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. The forum is led by Internet privacy experts Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf and includes an advisory board comprised of leading figures from industry, academia, law and advocacy groups.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  May 26, 2011             

Media Contact:
Ted Kresse
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