updated 01:15 pm EDT, Fri July 26, 2013
Code suggests providing notice of data usage, storage before installation
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has created a draft code of conduct for mobile apps. The draft, issued today by the telecoms adviser to the White House, aims to help consumers protect their privacy by asking developers and publishers to give notices for how data is being used and stored by the app.
The code, stemming from President Obama's request for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights according to The Next Web, is voluntary for developers to take part in, though the short warning notices could end up helping the public in trusting an app before allowing it access to the user's data in the first place. The draft has been written based on the feedback from privacy, consumer, and civil liberty groups, as well as statements from developers and publishers. This could have potentially prevented the claims by critics of mass data harvesting by Samsung with its recent Jay-Z album app if it had been in force at that time.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supports the draft code as an "important step forward," though legislative counsel Christopher Calabrese complained about it taking a year to create, suggesting it "makes it clear that we need comprehensive privacy legislation in order to gain meaningful privacy protections for consumers."
The NTIA is likely to use feedback from developers and consumers to revise the draft code further.