Australia’s mobile apps guidelines to be released on Monday

September 25, 2013

Australia’s Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pligrim will unveil a new set of privacy guidelines for mobile app developers on Monday next week according to a close senior developer who has been invited to attend the event. According to him, he has high expectations that third party data sharing could feature prominently. In a draft released April last year, draft guidelines, the Privacy Commissioner want app users to be able to give valuable consent, meaning privacy notices will no longer have more than one screen page in length in order to help prevent what the organization described as “notice fatigue.” In addition, they privacy commission “No one wants to read a 20-page privacy policy on a small screen.” However, there have been multiple complain from the industry that draft guidelines currently lack direction on the collection of location information and unsurprisingly the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network is lobbying behind the scenes to have included. In their lobby, the consumer group wants the guidelines to actively discourage developers from offering in‐app benefits in exchange for personal information.

My close apps developer is one of those that the Privacy Commissioner has been consulting together with other industry and consumer group stakeholders on the guidelines. He informed me that apps developers should expect increased scrutiny of privacy practices in the app industry by both regulators and the market itself. According to him, a research carried out revealed that 69% of respondents reported they had refused to use an apps or website because they collect too much personal information. The draft guidelines which I’ve been able to read suggest developers in Australia can only collect personal information that the app needs to function, and state that ideally, users should be able to opt out of sharing their personal information with third parties such as ad networks. However, not all stakeholders support the idea with media and tech industries arguing the guidelines should be less prescriptive. In its submission on the guidelines, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association said the Commissioner’s suggestion that users be prompted to accept or decline permissions each time an app is updated will make the user experience confusing, and distract from more important new privacy notices.

Contador Harrison