Future of Privacy Forum applauds the NTIA Focus on Mobile Apps


The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that the first focus of its multistakeholder process will be on transparency in mobile applications. The first meeting is set for July 12, 2012, to be considered for participation, fill out an “expression of intent” form with NTIA.

The announcement came at the US Chamber of Commerce Telecommunications and E-commerce Committee meeting, where NTIA Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling further discussed the multistakeholder process.

Mr. Strickling emphasized his goal of achieving broad participation from industry representatives, civil society, and academics in an effort to establish quality, credibility, and acceptance of the code of conduct established during the multistakeholder process.

With reference to facilitating consensus, Mr. Stickling cited the use of a professional facilitator to help “set a plan” and ensure productivity. Mr. Strickling said that he expected the first meeting to include as many as several hundred people, but that group would likely naturally narrow as the process continued.

Mr. Strickling emphasized two major aims of the multistakeholder process: (1) fleshing out the principles laid out in the White House’s “Consumer Bill of Rights” through codes of conduct and  (2) ensuring voluntary adoption of the codes of conduct by companies, which will make them subject to Federal Trade Commission enforcement.

FPF Director and Co-chair Jules Polonestsky said, “Kudos to NTIA for focusing on the mobile app ecosystem, which provides incredible value to consumers, but is also the cause of increasing privacy concerns. As the world has moved from one where carriers controlled what is on your phone to a turbulent environment of hundreds of thousands of small app developers and other data collectors, it is critical that all the players in the mobile ecosystem come together to find the right balance.” Following Mr. Strickling’s remarks at the Chamber, Polonetsky participated on a panel discussing the merits of the  multistakeholder process along with Berin Szoka of TechFreedom, Sarah Hudgins of the IAB, and Dan Caprio of Mckenna Long & Aldridge LLP.

FPF Mobile App Resources:

FPF App Ecosystem Chart

FPF App Summit

FPF APP Developer Education Site

Jules Polonetsky and Chris Wolf: App developers, not regulators, are best suited to solve privacy problems