Eye on Privacy: Looking Back at 2012 to Survive 2013
• Mobile App Privacy: With California's enforcement of the Online Privacy Protection Act, app developers should already be posting privacy policies about how data is collected and used on websites and through their apps. The penalties for non-compliance are high. The FTC is looking at similar issues, and released new recommendations in a February staff report, "Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency."
• Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): The new COPPA rules announced in December will take effect in July and will affect any website or app that has content that might reasonably appeal to children. The impact is still being analyzed, but it will certainly affect ad networks and app developers previously unregulated by COPPA.
• EU Data Protection: The EU continues to work on overhauling the data protection directive from 1995. Despite strong lobbying by both the U.S. government and private sector, challenging new regulation will likely pass this year and be in effect as early as 2015.
• GPS Tracking: A Senate committee approved a bill last year to ban apps that let a person track another person without their knowledge. The legislation will have to be reintroduced to move forward, but unintended consequences could affect legitimate uses of location services.
• Big Data: One area to watch is the increasing interest in Data Brokers by the FTC and Congress. The DMA has launched the Data-Driven Marketing Institute as a forum to discuss the responsible use of data in marketing and the resulting benefits to consumers.
• Do Not Track: The initiative to create formal standards which would allow consumers to indicate their preferences with regard to being "tracked" online is likely on its last leg with respect to becoming an actual World Wide Web Consortium standard. But with parts of the technology already incorporated into major browsers, we can expect a vigorous debate relating to what data collectors should do when they see a DNT signal. New legislation or enforcement under existing authority is also something we should be on the lookout for.