ATTENTION– mobile app developers and advertisers in the mobile Web environment. Despite the talk of political gridlock, a combination of federal agencies, private groups and Congress have moved forward in 2013 with ways to solve some of the important dilemmas associated with the protection of personal information. Here is the scoop as to some of what has been happening and links to important documents which can inform you about the regulatory developments in the mobile Web environment.
· The Digital Advertising Alliance, a consortium of the some big players in advertising, released guidance this summer explaining the application of their Self-Regulatory Principals, in the mobile app and mobile Web environment. Their seven Self-Regulatory Principals are at: http://www.aboutads.info/resource/download/seven-principles-07-01-09.pdf. The Guidance is at: http://www.aboutads.info/DAA_Mobile_Guidance.pdf.
· The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) developed additional guidance in the form of answers to some FAQ related to compliance with their recently issued Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule”), effective as of July 1, 2013.
· Go to http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm to see the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (the “Act”). The FTC’s Rule, which implements the Act, may be found at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/fedreg/2013/01/130117coppa.pdf. You can find the FTC’s Guidance for complying with the Act and answers its FAQ at: http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm and http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/Complying-with-COPPA-Frequently-Asked-Questions.
· The U.S. House of Representatives has not been asleep at the switch. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, has set up a bipartisan working group to examine online privacy issues and the need to protect personal information while not hindering innovation. The Subcommittee has also held hearings into the reporting requirements of consumer data breaches. Currently, the reporting of such Internet breaches of consumer data is covered by a patchwork of state laws. (For a list of the state laws regulating notification requirements for security breaches involving personal information, see http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/telecom/security-breach-notification-laws.aspx ). Needless to say, the industry would prefer implementation of a uniform technology neutral standard that could be established by federal law.
In future blogs, I will examine a number of these developments in the protection of personal data and mobile devices in more detail.