NSA. Edward Snowden. Lavabit. Silent Circle. Windows 8.
Privacy breaches are making headline news. What used to be a sleepy backwater of legal niceties is hitting the front pages. And assumptions consumers have always held – that their private information will be kept private – are now being questioned.
The privacy of your personal information will become bigger and bigger news in the weeks and months to come. Consumers will start to demand that their information is secure and they will become increasingly concerned about sharing personal information.
One of the areas that will inevitably be scrutinised is ‘app permissions’.
Apps are becoming ubiquitous. And consumers run them without thinking. But do you know if the app you just downloaded accesses information it doesn’t require to run it? Has the games app you just added accessed your address book? Or your geographic location?
App marketers need to know what their developers are doing
Many apps access far more information than they require to run. Some apps may use it for their own means – such as targeting advertising. Some apps harvest your contact details and your address book and sell the information. Some apps are just sloppily programmed.
An app permission controls the access you give an application to your mobile device’s operating system and data. For example, access to your email address, address book, geographic location, etc.
If you are an app developer or developing an app for your own business, you need to be aware of the permissions your app needs to run – and limit your app to only these permissions. Then you need to instruct your app programmer accordingly. And probably check on him/her too.
App marketers need privacy policies too
Privacy policies are now common for websites. But not yet for apps.