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FTC Recommends Ways to Improve Mobile Privacy Disclosures

February 6, 2013
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The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s chief privacy agency, issued a staff report recommending ways that key players in the rapidly expanding mobile marketplace can better inform consumers about their data practices. The report makes recommendations for critical players in the mobile marketplace: mobile platforms (operating system providers, such as Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Google and Microsoft), application (app) developers, advertising networks and analytics companies, and app developer trade associations. Most of the recommendations involve making sure that consumers get timely, easy-to-understand disclosures about what data they collect and how the data is used...

 

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Confirming a report from the New York Post last week, the Wall Street Journal and Politico both published articles that said Google would emerge basically unscathed from the FTC’s antitrust investigation. Google will apparently agree to make voluntary changes to various practices and will thus avoid having to sign a consent degree. The voluntary actions, according to the articles, would involve limiting use of third party content in some of Google’s services (e.g., restaurant reviews) and to make it easier for AdWords campaigns to be transferred to competing platforms (i.e., adCenter).
 
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The currently pending Do Not Track federal legislation is being proposed to make it easier for consumers to block tracking cookies; however, it has not yet been passed by Congress. In the meantime, the efforts by privacy advocates are beginning to create more consumer awareness of existing Web browser tools for deactivating cookies. Internet Explorer 9 currently includes a feature that empowers users to block cookies set by ad targeters. ... The FTC has praised Microsoft; however, the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) is concerned about the legislation’s impact on advertisers.
 

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