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FTC Issues Mobile App Guidelines

Marketing Your Mobile App: Getting it Right from the Start, is the FTC’s new guide for mobile apps developers. It’s designed to insure developers are incorporating consumer privacy protections in their products.

Be Truthful About What Your App Does

You become an advertiser once you begin to distribute your app. When the FTC says that, you’d better be paying attention. False or misleading claims about what your app does can cause some major, legal headaches.

Keep Your T&C Out in the Open

All mobile app developers need to keep their T&C out in the open where they’re easily accessible to consumers. Now whether consumers choose to read them or not is another matter.

Privacy by Design

The FTC wants privacy features to be a standard feature on mobile apps. What they’re looking for is pretty standard stuff for anyone who has ever written a privacy policy including:

  • Opt-in data collection
  • Clear explanations of how personal data is used
  • Quick disposal of unused data
  • Default privacy settings

Providing Clear, Meaningful Choices for Consumers

All privacy settings and information should be up front and easy for customers to find and understand.

Want to learn more about the exploding world of mobile? Check out How Mobile Gaming  Affects Downloads vs. Depositors.

Honor Your Privacy Policies

Whatever you say in your privacy statement and data collection policies need to be honored. “App developers must adhere to these representations or potentially face regulatory scrutiny and investigation.”

Think of the Children

If you’re aiming an app at the younger (Texas Hold ‘Em for Toddlers maybe?) you need to be compliant with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Obtain Express Consent for Personal Data

Don’t take information from customers without their express consent. The FTC is hammering this point home in as many ways as possible, so you know they’re serious about it.

Keep User Data Secure

Take reasonable precautions to protect user data from hackers.


There’s nothing in these guidelines that isn’t already best practice for web development already, so getting compliant for mobile apps shouldn’t be too tough.