Just over a decade ago, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg described privacy is an evolving “social norm” of the past. Today however, there is growing concern among consumers and regulators alike, over business’
use of consumer data, arising from issues ranging from shoddy privacy policies to rampant identity theft and security breaches.

According to the Edelman Index, 70% of consumers say they are more concerned about privacy and data security issues than they were 5 years ago, and 85% saying that businesses need to
take these issues more seriously.

In a keynote speech to the Direct Marketing Association’s “DMA in DC” conference, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill cited a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, which found that 57% of app users declined installing an app, after finding out how much data it shared.

Noting that “Today’s biggest threat is the customer who becomes skittish,” she called for self-governance by the industry in the interest of self-preservation and customer retention.

 

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Privacy is a growing concern among consumers. (Source: GSMA, Pinterest)

 

Many marketers are already being pro-active in balancing privacy concerns with leveraging personal data. These efforts range from installing state-of-the art software to more creative initiatives such as one described by Jonathan Lampe, RhinoSoft’s V.P. of product management. In order to avoid “the creepiness factor,” when sending out promotional email, RhinoSoft makes a point of “introducing at least a plausible amount of fuzzing to make it sound as if we’re not stalking that person.”

Protecting Privacy

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) writes that safeguarding mobile consumer’s privacy begins with “creating a privacy policy that explains what data is
collected, how data is used, and with whom data is shared. …The privacy policy should contain a comprehensive overview of the data collection and use
practices.” (FPF, 2013). A sound privacy policy is critical, because it is a key leverage point in the event of legal action under current law. (FPF, 2013)
for enforcement action under current law.

In a white paper authored with the Center for Democracy & technology, the FPF provides seven best practices for mobile app developers, which encompass
building privacy into mobile apps, empowering the end-user and fostering trust in the mobile app ecosystem. These best practices are for a comprehensive
privacy policy are summarized below:

Design for Privacy

The FPF recommends proactively incorporating privacy measures into the design and development of the mobile app

Open Communication

A comprehensive, transparent privacy policy will disclose what data will be collected, shared and used, in clear simple language.

Accessibility

The privacy policy should be easily accessible to the consumer. It should be prominently displayed, or a link leading to it provided.

Enhanced Notice

Utilize enhanced notice for situations where the user may not expect data to be collected.

Choices & Controls

Empower the user with the choice to opt in and out, along with control over the method, amount and use of the data that they will provide.

Data Security

User data must always be protected with up-to-date security measures and technologies.

Accountability

A designated employee should be placed in charge of securing the data, or assume that responsibility.