Tag: federal trade commission

Mobile security in a poor state according to US FTC

Mobile Security FTCMobile security attracts attention of FTC

Mobile security is a potential catastrophic problem, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection. The federal government has been pushing for more comprehensive mobile security measures to be put in place throughout the country. Mobile applications and the information they collect from consumers has, thus far, been the primary focus of the government’s mobile security concerns, with the FTC aiming to hold applications developers and companies responsible for the information that they collect.

FTC targeting companies collecting consumer information

The issue of mobile security has become more pronounced since the FTC filed a case against Compete, a search marketing firm. Compete uses technology to collect personal data from consumers using its services, without providing these consumers with information about how this data will be used. In the case,  the FTC has prohibited the company from collecting consumer information without the express consent of the consumer. The FTC also closed several cases against companies concerning the use of software that was being used to deliberately spy on consumers.

Google runs afoul of federal government

Google was also targeted by the FTC in late 2012 for circumventing the protocols of Apple’s Safari Internet browser to introduce users to targeted advertisements. The massive technology company was fined a record setting penalty of $22.5 million for breaching mobile security standards. FTC officials are likening the current state of the country’s mobile security practices to the “wild, wild west,” suggesting that many companies operating in the mobile space have little to no concern for mobile security.

Mobile security recommendations coming from the FTC

The FTC is currently developing recommendations concerning mobile security standards titled “Building Trust Through Transparency.” These recommendations are meant to help ensure the protection of consumer information, keeping this data safe from exploitation by marketers and similar groups. The initial recommendations will focus on companies collecting information from mobile consumers. In the future, the FTC will focus more closely on application developers, hoping to further bolster mobile security for consumers.

Mobile gaming set to change with new COPPA rules

mobile gaming security rules childrenFTC issues amendments to COPPA that could affect mobile gaming

Earlier this month, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a U.S. agency committed to promoting consumer protection, issued a call to the mobile applications industry to bolster their security measures for applications that are designed for children. Mobile gaming application are rampantly popular among children, and the FTC believes that the majority of these applications do not have adequate security measures in place to protect the information of consumers. The agency has released amendments to the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) this week detailing some of the changes that must be made to mobile gaming and the applications business in general.

Developers banned from collecting information from children

According to the COPPA amendments, mobile gaming applications are completely forbidden from collecting personal data from users that are under the age of 13. Developers will have to received parental consent in order to obtain this information. The ban keeps mobile gaming applications from collecting geographic information as well in an attempt to provide young consumers with another layer of protection. Geographic information is often used in marketing to target specific demographics.

Developers tasked with securing personal information

The changes to the COPPA law also close a loophole that allowed applications to collect a wide assortment of information from consumers. These applications often use third party solutions to acquire personal information from users. The FTC notes that developers and applications providers will need to take reasonable steps in securing the protection of a child’s personal information and ensure that this information is kept confidential.

COPPA changes may be difficult to comply with due to consumer honesty

Changes to COPPA may have an impact on the mobile gaming sector, but app developers are likely to adapt well to the changes. There are concerns that children often use mobile applications without the consent of their parents. Protecting the information of young consumers is largely linked to the honesty of these consumers, which can be a problematic issue as young consumers tend to bend the truth in order to gain access to applications that may not be suitable for their age group.