Industry Seeks to Streamline Privacy Policies for Mobile Users

Majority of the Internet users find online privacy policies long and difficult to read. When the same policies are transferred to a mobile device, they can become almost impossible to read or, in most cases, useless to the average consumer.  Clicking through multiple screens with tiny type is a hassle which most of the users would like to avoid.  Nevertheless, it is also a fact that the same policies administer the amount of user data which is collected through various mobile applications and the way the same data is shared with third parties and advertisers. Amongst increasing concern over the collection of personal data together with proposed legislation to more closely protect consumers, Privacy Choice is one company which is making an effort to make privacy policies which are both easy for mobile application developers to create and more importantly easy for consumers to read. PrivacyChoice is a company that has analyzed and indexed the data in hundreds of privacy policies across the Web. Jim Brock, the founder of  PrivacyChoice said “Everybody complains that no one reads privacy policies and that privacy policies are too long and too difficult”. He also added “The mobile environment requires you to say things very succinctly, and it requires you to say things in layers.” According to Brock’s estimate, the considerable majority of applications that the users of mobile phone download don’t have privacy policies at all. The rest of the policies that do exist can be difficult for users to read without clicking through multiple screens. There are a lot of application developers which run small businesses. A big chunk of their revenue comes from customized advertising, but they don’t have a uniform approach to policy making. They would have to charge more for their applications if the advertising revenue is taken away from their profit.

Hence it would be difficult for most of them to survive in the industry. Another significant factor to look upon is the cost for a legal consultation. This cost may range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands and can restrict small app developers looking to create privacy policies. Recent efforts to increase the availability of mobile privacy policies can be seen as a good first step in informing consumers, but as stated by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law, Senator Al Franken “It alone will not address the majority of privacy threats that consumers face on their mobile devices.”

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