The State of Mobile: The What and Where of Mobile Privacy


FPF Director and Co-chair, Jules Polonetsky presented along with other leading industry professionals at the OTA Forum Workshop titled, “The State of Mobile: The What and Where of Mobile Privacy. Redefining the role of business and industry.” Jules Polonetsky highlighted some of the issues with having mobile privacy policies. “Is anyone actually eager to read a long mobile privacy policy?” “One way or another we have to communicate to users how data will be used,” said Jim Brock, President and Founder of PrivacyChoice, who recently released PrivacyChoice Policymaker for mobile apps and sites, a tool that summarizes to users how data is used in less than eighteen syllables. Justin Brookman, Director, Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), responded that there should still be a place where the entire privacy policy is discoverable, as it is probably hard to explain the full extent to which data is used in such a tool.

“UDID [Unique Device Identifiers] is not the concept of personal information that most people have. Having a unique identifier has some real advantages,” said Morgan Reed, Executive Director, Association for Competitive Technology (ACT). For example, an educational app can inform invested parties such as parents and teachers when a child completes his homework or how to restore data from an app that was accidentally deleted. Polonetsky added that more responsible networks are hashing the UDID and offering consumers a choice of opting out.

“It is important to remember that this whole industry has only existed since 2008. Advertising in mobile apps is less than 24 months old,” stated Reed. Given that apps are so recent, he stressed that the app industry needs a chance to experiment and even make some mistakes in order to fully realize the business model and potential for growth.