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Profitable Apps and Privacy Issues: 3 Quick Tips to Make Sur

by anonymous

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Your apps are suppose to make you money, get you recognition and make life a little easier for the end user–not get you fined $800,000.

It’s been all over the internet that the makers of the Path social networking app will pay a civil penalty to settle U.S. Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected personal information from kids without parental consent.

With our lives being so open because of the internet and social media, it’s no surprise that privacy would be of concern for app makers, organizations and the end user.

We all want to make sure we’re getting what we want out of the deal and have our privacy respected at the same time.  That’s why we want to give you these three quick tips to make sure you’re not fined and/or penalized for your hard work.

1.  Create a comprehensive privacy policy.  Your privacy policy has to disclose some or all of the ways you gather, use, disclose and manage the customers’ data.  Remember that the data is not yours and you must be respectful of people and their constitutional right to privacy.  If you change anything about how you gather, use, disclose or manage the consumers’ data –you must share it with them.

2.  Give them options.  One of the things that happened with Path’s iOS app is that the FTC said that the app was not only misleading but that it provided users no meaningful choice about the  collection of their personal information, instead they just took the data from the user’s address book even if the person hadn’t selected to “find friends from contacts,” which leads to our next tip…

3.  Do no automatically collect data from a user’s address book.  For each contact in the user’s mobile device address book, Path automatically collected and stored any available information including dates of birth, Facebook and Twitter handles, phone numbers, street addresses as well as their first and/or last names.

According to the FTC, this wasn’t just a simple oversight.  They call it deception.  They say that Path’s privacy policy deceived consumers by saying that it only collected certain user information such as IP address, operating system, browser type, address of referring site, and site activity information –but that wasn’t true.

Even though we leave location tracking and collection of end user data to the application developers, our goal is to make sure you’re profiting with your apps by doing the right thing to avoid costly fines that eat up your profits.  The GeoLoqal Mobile development platform helps developers create, test and monetize Location-Aware Applications. There is a free sign up option to test drive the platform.

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