New Australia mobile app development guidelines published

Posted on October 4, 2013 10:01 am

A research conducted by The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner revealed that six out of every ten Australians chooses not to use a smartphone app citing concerns about details use. That concern on private information led to the drafting of new app development guidelines meant to assist mobile app developers to embed better privacy practices into their products, and to comply with Australian privacy law. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has now released its mobile privacy guide for app developers. The privacy commission said it is ultimately in an app developer’s best interest to build strong privacy protections into their product. The new guidelines published on 30th September 2013 demands app developers to effectively embrace privacy impact assessment for each app they develop and make the app’s privacy policy easy to find as well use short form notices that are no longer than a single screen. Developers are also required to tell users what will happen with their information in real time and developers should only collect personal information that is required for the app to function. App developers in Australia are also expected to notify app users on how an app collects personal information and whether it is likely to disclose that information outside territories of Australia. Authorities have pinned their expectations that the guide app developers to entrench a culture of better privacy practices in their apps thus making their apps to be fully compliant with Australian privacy law. The guidelines are not clearly advising against the use of location data.

What even disappointed me more was the information regarding the guidelines is that apps developers are not bound by the law to embrace them and the whole process is voluntary and under no obligations is there a precise guideline recommending an action. The guidelines defer to the to businesses with an annual turnover of more than $3 million. Australian apps guidelines recommends best practices in app development thus allowing users to opt in to the collection or use of their personal information although it does recommend opt out if opt in is not practicable. The new guidelines means that if apps developers breach Australian privacy laws they could lead to them having to change their app or paying compensation to complainant. The incoming Australia privacy act suggests developers avoid collecting information about a user’s movements and activities through the use of integrated location and movement sensors unless it relates directly to the app and they have the user’s informed consent. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network was quoted in the national media as being optimistic that the new guidelines would clear the air to app developers handling app user personal information that are subject to Australian privacy laws.

Contador Harrison