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Tech Report: Mobile App Developers Focus On Transparency

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Mobile CBS iPhone App Screen

Mobile CBS iPhone App Screen

LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— I’m at the 2nd Annual MEF Privacy Summit 2013 in Washington D.C. where I just spoke. MEF is a global trade association for companies that want to monetize their products and services via mobile.

A lot of the important issues for mobile app developers deal with transparency. People were here from the Federal Trade Commission as well as from the trade industry. Sen. Mark Pryor was here as well.

The big issue seemed to be, making sure that it’s clear as to what app developers are doing with the kinds of information they’re gathering from its users.

Cell phones are like ‘black boxes’ even to tech experts. I don’t really know what’s going on inside of my phone. When I install an app, it could access my contact list or even my location in order to display ads relevant to where I am.

When we talked about transparency we didn’t really mean putting together a 30 page legal document to access on your mobile device. Who would want to read that on their phone? That would be useless. But what we are talking about is just-in-time notification. For example, if you’re using an app and it wants to know where you are; the app should say that it can provide you that information if you tell it your location. But then it should give you the option right then and there to agree yes or no.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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