28 percent of the top 100 apps still don’t have a privacy policy

Research from the mobile association MEF highlights the need for app publishers to take user privacy more seriously to improve consumer trust in apps. Analysis of the top 100 free mobile apps available from the Apple App Store and Google Play reveals lack of privacy policy before download (45 percent), lack of privacy policy within app (68 percent) or failure to provide any privacy policy at all (28 percent).

Most privacy policies were too long. Only 8 percent of privacy policies were less than 750 words or would take under three minutes to read (the average was 3,068 words, taking 12 minutes to read). With users interacting with an app for an average of just two minutes per session, MEF says that it is unrealistic to expect consumers to engage with a privacy policy for so long. See the infographic below for more details.

The research suggests that apps publishers have taken little heed of the public outcry over the personal data collected by some apps – often shared with third parties – about their users, without their knowledge or express consent.

In February MEF, which is on a crusade to build consumer trust in mobile apps, published a Global Privacy Report 2013 which found:
• 70 percent of consumers think it’s important to know what information is being gathered by an app (46 percent think it’s very important).
• 71 percent of all consumers think it’s important to know what information is being shared by an app (and 49 percent think it’s very important).
• Only 37 percent are comfortable sharing personal data with an app.

MEF has introduced a new Consumer trust category to its Meffy Awards to help drive home the point that apps publishers need to try harder in this regard.

mobiThinking note: In case you were wondering, mobile sites and mobile Web apps should also include privacy policy explaining simply, clearly and briefly what data is stored about the user and how it is used.

Privacy Infographic



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