The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) is canvassing its membership to formulate in-app privacy policies ahead of the upcoming implementation of the ePrivacy Directive next month.
The trade body has launched its Privacy in Mobile Applications Initiative in a move to standardise how its members’ apps collect user data.
This process has included the formation of a Privacy in Mobile Applications Working Group, with companies such as Inmobi and Vodafone taking part, that will canvass opinions from across the different sectors of its membership.
With under a month to go, it seems that the pace is really picking up in terms of brands and organisations getting their ducks in a row. While mobile had largely been an after thought for a lot of brands who were concentrating on their desktop policy, this is an encouraging step forward.
Andrew Bud, chairman of MEF, said the scheme was necessary to gain “informed consent” from consumers after high-profile cases of “data grabs” from apps, of which some even access users’ phone books, have elevated the issue in the public mindset.
“Lots of apps out there meet the letter of the law but not necessarily the spirit of it,” he added.
Separately, Bud said that MEF has met with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about the upcoming ePrivacy Directive implementation.
When asked why the trade body was taking such actions, and not taking a lead from the industry’s leading ecosystem providers Apple and Google, Bud said the MEF wanted to establish guidelines that would transcend a single ecosystem.
Earlier this year, North American technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft, agreed to make developers on their platforms disclose how they use private data before an app may be downloaded.
The mobile industry has not been as quick to address the ePrivacy Directive implementation, primarily due to the fact that mobile display advertising is very much in its infancy compared to on desktop.
However, as the directive is “device neutral”, the trade body IAB is in the process of recruiting its first mobile-specialist regulatory manager who will work directly with IAB regulatory affairs head Nick Stringer.
Until now, the trade body’s mobile arm has taken the lead from the IAB’s Behavioural Targeting and Regulatory Affairs Councils to prepare for the ePrivacy Directive, which will be policed from 26 May.
Jonathan Mew, director of mobile for the IAB, said the appointment was a move to “stay ahead of the curve” and that until now mobile had played a comparatively small role in the ePrivacy Directive.