FTC Unveils Mobile Applications Information Page

In keeping with the focus on mobile and geolocation data, the FTC recently established a page on its website entitled Facts from the FTC: What You Should Know About Mobile Apps. The page, in turn, contains a link to the government’s website OnGuardOnline, which provides “practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer and protect your personal information.”

In addition to some explanatory information about types of apps and their content, the Q&A section of the site answers questions like “How can I tell what information an app will access or share?,” “Why do some apps collect location data?,” and “Can I trust all the user reviews I read about an app?” Such questions highlight the importance of adequate disclosure and transparency in the digital world. Companies are encouraged to provide meaningful and intelligible disclosure about their privacy practices so that consumers can make an informed decision about their subscription preferences. With respect to trusting reviews, the FTC — as evidenced by the recent Legacy Learning settlement — has increased its vigilance regarding companies that post fake comments or do not disclose material relationships with those who are paid (or otherwise compensated) to promote their products.