AARP Report Issues New Guidance for Mobile Phone Regulators, Industry, Consumer Groups

Washington, DC— A new report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute released today offers specific recommendations on privacy protection to regulators, legislators, industry, and consumer groups who work in the fast-changing world of mobile devices.  The report, “Improving Mobile Device Privacy Disclosures,” notes studies showing that older consumers, one of the fastest-growing groups of mobile device users, express high levels of concern about the privacy of their information. However, older consumers are not using the mobile phone as a replacement for their reliable, landline phone service, but instead they are using it in addition to their existing service.

“We welcome new technology but want to help ensure that all people that use mobile devices have the opportunity to protect their privacy,” said AARP Executive Vice President Debra Whitman. “We hope this report encourages industry, legislative, regulatory, and other consumer groups to have an open dialogue about how best to safeguard consumers so that technology can continue to benefit people of all ages.”

Specific recommendations from the report to regulators, legislators, industry groups, and consumer groups includes:

  • Require privacy disclosure notices that are short, standardized, and easily accessible on smaller screens.
  • Develop standards governing the collection, transfer, use, and disposal of sensitive data, such as locational data gathered through mobile devices.
  • Notify app users about data practices that involve sensitive information or that collect data unrelated to the app’s basic functionality before the collection of any such data.
  • Create a do-not-track mechanism to give device users a comprehensive way to prevent the tracking of their activities by third-party advertising networks.
  • Develop consumer education programs that teach mobile device users about their privacy options and how to implement them.

To read the full report on AARP’s Public Policy Institute’s site, click here.  To read a blog post about the report, click here.

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