Mobile Marketing Association unveils free, generic privacy policy for mobile developers

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Mobile developers now have a free, generic privacy policy to use when creating their apps.

Developed by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), a non-profit trade association for mobile marketers, the Mobile Application Privacy Policy is a plain-language policy for developers to adapt and use as they see fit.

There are still lingering concerns about how mobile apps use and share personal data. About a year or so ago, The Wall Street Journal published a series of stories lambasting apps like Pandora for passing on data to ad networks and partners. This is a way for developers and the MMA to be proactive about heading off such concerns. The MMA is touting the policy as a first of its kind document, created with input from the development community and designed to address what it calls the “core privacy issues” of the industry today.

The MMA is marketing the privacy policy as a jumping off point for developers, and makes it clear the policy — a generic document with fill in the blank instructions — isn’t sufficient to cover every type of application. Developers using the policy as a model are encouraged to seek legal advice before rolling it out to the public.

Coming in at a relatively scant six pages with notes, the policy covers privacy basics such as: what data an app may collect (including location information, device ID, and operating system), how data is being used, how a company uses information provided by users, how a company might provide user information to third parties, a user’s opt out rights, data retention, general security, how the policy affects children under 13 and how changes may be made to the privacy policy.

The policy also makes it clear that its up to developers to detail the exact functionality of their app and provide users with what the MMA calls a “clear, illustrative list of the most important data points obtained by each app.”

The policy was authored by the MMA Privacy and Advocacy Committee, a group within the MMA that counts a variety of mobile advertising players such as InMobi, JumpTap, Millennial Media as members, but also includes industry players like Microsoft, Yahoo and advertisers like Procter & Gamble, Unilever and MTV Networks.

Developers interested in using the policy can download it here.