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Data Protection Commission

Press Release

Global privacy guardians urge app marketplaces to make links to privacy policies mandatory

December 11, 2014 – Privacy enforcement authorities from around the world are calling on app marketplaces to make it mandatory for mobile app developers to post links to privacy policies prior to download if they’re going to collect personal information.
Twenty-three privacy authorities, including Ireland, are raising the issue in an open letter today to seven app marketplaces, including Google Play and the Apple App Store. The letter has been co-signed by Helen Dixon, the recently appointed Data Protection Commissioner for Ireland
Having privacy information prior to download is critical as it allows individuals to decide whether they are comfortable with the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information before the app is even on their device. Without this information, it's difficult for individuals to provide meaningful consent, privacy guardians say.
The open letter was drafted jointly by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Hong Kong Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data. Twenty-one other data protection authorities including Ireland have signed on in support.
The joint recommendation follows a mobile app privacy sweep last spring by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) that found many popular mobile apps were seeking access to large amounts of personal information without adequately explaining how that information would be used.
Sweep partners examined 1,211 mobile apps and found that 85 per cent of them failed to clearly explain how they would collect, use and disclose personal information. The results from the Irish Sweep can be found via this link.