Mobile security firm Lookout has issued guidelines to help mobile ad providers and app developers standardize privacy practices for app-based mobile ads.  According to Lookout Chief Technology Officer Kevin Mahaffey, the guidelines are intended to provide guidance about what constitutes “acceptable behavior” in the mobile ad ecosystem, and to “fix this problem before it gets so big that it needs regulation.” 

Lookout’s guidelines are built on well-recognized privacy principles such as transparency, individual control, reasonable limits on data collection and retention, and security, but the guidelines also break new ground in that they focus primarily on the obligations of ad providers — i.e., ad networks, ad exchanges, and mobile ad mediation layers that manage ad delivery across a number of different ad networks. Other industry guidelines issued to date have been primarily geared toward app developers (including the EFF’s Mobile User Privacy Bill of Rights, CDT/FPF’s Best Practices for Mobile App Developers, and MMA’s Mobile Application Privacy Policy Framework) or directed at specific practices (such as the CTIA’s Best Practices and Guidelines for Location-Based Services). 

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The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a preliminary agenda for its upcoming public workshop called Advertising and Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World.  The goal of the workshop is to discuss revisions to the Dot Com Disclosures, the FTC’s current guidance document on online advertising disclosures, which was published in 2000. The Dot

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has reached a settlement with Chitika, Inc., an ad network that tracks a user’s online activities in order to deliver advertising targeted to the individual user’s interests.  In its complaint, the FTC claimed that Chitika made statements that (1) users could opt out of targeted advertising by clicking on an “Opt-Out”