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Public Administration News  
Australian Information Commissioner Releases Mobile Privacy Guide
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Australia
Created: Oct 08, 2013

Addressing privacy concerns among smartphone users, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has recommended that app developers take a ‘privacy by design’ approach starting from the early stages of app development.

Around six in 10 Australians cite concerns about the way personal information would be used for not using a smartphone app. In response, the OAIC on Monday came out with the ‘Mobile privacy: A better practice guide for mobile app developers’.

Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, says the mobile app development industry presents potential benefits to users, but also serious risks to the handling of personal data.

To make sure the app is privacy-friendly, developers should embed privacy protection in the app design starting right from early development, Pilgrim suggests. The Guide also recommends that developers use brief privacy notices in place of lengthy ones which are difficult to read on a small screen.

“People are increasingly expecting transparency about how their personal information is handled. It’s important to get informed consent from people so they can decide whether or not to install an app,” Pilgrim says.

“Informed consent requires that users be told about the privacy implications of an app in a way they can understand. App developers should make it easy by using things like a privacy dashboard and in-text notices where you tell users what will happen with their information in real time,” he adds.

Pilgrim recommended that mobile app developers operating in the Australian market be aware of how Australian privacy regulations apply, in order to avoid risks of violating the law.

“It is ultimately in an app developer’s best interest to build strong privacy protections into their product. The mobile apps that take privacy seriously will be the ones that stand out from the crowd and gain user trust and loyalty,” he concludes.

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