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Bill draft calls for disclosure on shared app data


By Ashok Selvam
Posted: January 21, 2013 - 3:00 pm ET
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A Congressman last week posted a draft version of a bill that would require mobile application developers to more clearly disclose how they collect sensitive user data.

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The draft, released by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), didn’t specifically mention medical data, but the bill would govern the storage and dissemination of such information. The Application Privacy, Protection and Security Act of 2013 (APPS Act), would force mobile-app developers to share how they collect personal information and detail which third parties they would allow to share that data. The act also mandates developers to tell consumers the type of data being kept and how long it could be stored. If made into law, users would be allowed to opt-out on the application if they don’t want their information shared or collected. Developers would also be regulated to allow users to delete any stored data. The Federal Trade Commission would enforce the law if Congress approves.

It’s not clear when the bill would make its way through Congress. Johnson introduced the legislation through his online AppsRights program, which was launched in July to collect constituent opinions on how the federal government could better guard mobile application privacy and security.

“Many of you also told us that simple mechanisms are important to protecting your privacy on mobile devices,” Johnson said in a news release. “After listening to these concerns, we have written provisions to address these concerns without threatening the functionality or integrity of the mobile apps that you love.”


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