Mobile App Developers Getting Smarter on Privacy

The Future of Privacy Forum released an encouraging new study this week indicating that app developers are becoming more privacy savvy on both Google and Apple operating systems. And as the Apple App Store celebrates its birthday week, an industry expert compares the App Store’s first four years to the early commercial Web. In international mobile news, breaking reports show that China has pre-empted Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 launch.

The New York Times is reporting on a new study from the Future of Privacy Forum, released this week. According to the study, 61.3 percent of app developers have privacy policies in place, detailing what data is collected and how it is used. The study revealed that the number of free apps with a privacy policy on iOS grew significantly from 40 percent to 84 percent between September 2011 and June 2012, while those for Google's Android operating system increased from 70 percent to 76 percent during that same period. The think tank also urged app developers to provide “enhanced notice” if apps collect information users might not expect and to give users control about what they share. AdWeek has more on the study.

“When Apple debuted its App Store four years ago, even the most bullish analysts and enthusiastic fanboys could not have fathomed how iOS apps would so quickly change our lives,” writesAppolicious’ managing editor, Brad Spirrison, in a contributed Huffington Post column. In this piece, he examines the parallels between what the Apple App Store has done for mobile media consumption and what Netscape’s browser-based Internet did for the commercial Web in the mid-90s. He continues on to say that today, between iOS, Android and Windows, there are nearly 1.5 million apps available for download, each competing fiercely for users. This underscores the continued discoverability challenges mobile app developers face as the app stores continue to grow exponentially each year.

And as speculation and anticipation continues to mount around the upcoming iPhone 5 launch, opportunistic sellers in China are already accepting pre-orders for the new model, reports Fox Business. These pre-orders come with mock-up pictures and “guesstimate” technical specifications, though Apple has remained tight-lipped, not revealing any specifications, details or pricing to the public. According to the current rumor mill, the new model will have a bigger screen than previous models, and the phone's voice recognition software, Siri, will have more powerful functions.

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