Industry Agrees To New Mobile App Guidelines

Anne Flaherty | Modern Healthcare | July 25, 2013

Industry groups and privacy advocates on Thursday were near agreement on voluntary guidelines for mobile apps that should make it easier for consumers to know what personal information is getting sucked from their smartphone or tablet and passed along to marketers.

The plan will likely provide a brief, easy-to-read snapshot of an app's privacy policies, similar to nutrition labels on food packages. The snapshot would give consumers the bottom line on what information the software collects, such as physical location, surfing habits and personal contacts, and how that data might be used or shared with other companies.

The new labels won't replace lengthy privacy policies that consumers rarely read anyway. And how widespread these labels become is up to industry. While major trade associations were on track to endorse the plan, it's up to individual companies and developers to decide if they want to comply. It could take several months for companies to test and implement the labels.