Legal Alerts / 9 May 2014

Legal Alert – Mobile Apps to be Scrutinized in Global Privacy Enforcement Sweep in May 2014

The number of mobile applications offered to consumers is growing at an astonishing rate. As many of the applications collect a great deal of personal information, the exploding popularity of mobile applications has also brought along a wealth of privacy concerns. Against this background the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) will conduct a privacy enforcement sweep in the third week of May 2014.

A total of 27 data protection authorities from around the world will be participating in the sweep. The GPEN consists of 40 national and regional privacy enforcement authorities, including the US Federal Trade Commission. The Office of the Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman, which is not a member of the GPEN, also announced on 6 May 2014 that it will take part in the mobile privacy sweep.

The 2014 sweep will focus on mobile app privacy and on how mobile apps collect and use personal data. According to the GPEN the sweep participants will be looking at the types of permissions an app is seeking, whether those permissions exceed what would be expected based on the app’s functionality, and most importantly from a transparency perspective, how the app explains to consumers why it wants the personal information and what it will do with it.

According to the Office of the Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman, the sweep in Finland will be aimed at both public and private organizations and conducted on 12–13 May 2014.

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