New Data Protection Guide for App Developers from the Information Commissioner’s Office

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently expressed concerns over data protection surrounding the downloading of Apps and has published a mobile Apps guidance aimed at App developers, to help them consider users’ privacy implications.

The guidance will act as useful reference for App developers to ensure that they consider data protection legislation when consumers come to use their Apps.  The ICO guidance will provide effective recommendations for setting out privacy information as well as providing essential security awareness for App developers.

The Data Protection Act is there to protect an individual’s privacy and sets out how an individual’s personal data is to be dealt with. Consumers need to be aware that Apps collect personal data and developers are being advised that this collection should be kept to a minimum and that the data collected should be deleted once it has performed the necessary task in hand.

The concerns when creating Apps is that not all of the personal data is limited to names and addresses but that it also contains other information such as cookies, which is valuable to the App developers.  Developers must ensure that they inform their users from the outset and obtain their prior consent to process personal data to ensure compliance with the law.  Developers should also ensure that the data stored is secure and encrypted where necessary.  The ICO’s guidance follows on from the OFT’s Principles for online and App-based games, and clarifies the OFT’s view of the online and App-based games industry’s obligations under consumer protection law.

With their increased popularity, it appears that Regulators are taking an increased interest in relation to App-based matters.  To ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act and avoid being the subject of regulatory action, developers should have a privacy policy in place.  For advice and assistance with the production of a privacy policy and other data protection matters, the Forbes Solicitors Business Law Department on 0800 037 4628 or send an enquiry using our contact form.

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