Mobile Privacy is the Hottest Thing in Washington D.C.

Legislators are barreling down on mobile privacy from multiple angles. SiliconAngle Contributing Editor John Casaretto talked all about this sudden surge in interest during this morning’s NewsDesk session with Kristin Feledy (see full video below).

The 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee launched a mobile app ahead of the Monday event to help people find their way to the ceremony, or catch it live on their device of choice.  The program pulls phone numbers and location data to support extended capabilities, but no one bothered to inform users that their information is being used.

Casaretto considers this latest incident an important example of what happens when a developer overlooks the importance of transparency in mobile environments. It’s true that users can block the app from accessing their personal data, but that doesn’t change the fact that the committee botched this one.

Casaretto says that developers will eventually have to do something to make the fine print easier to understand for the consumer, preferably sooner rather than later. But he believes that forcing the mobile app ecosystem to comply with privacy standards, which is the current goal of Georgia Senator Hank Johnson, is not the way to go.

Rep. Hank is pushing a bill that would require mobile developers to incorporate a data wipe capability into their apps. Casaretto doesn’t think too highly of the proposition. He says that the overwhelming majority of app creators, who are either individuals or small studios with limited resources at their disposal, will be negatively affected should the act pass.

On the back of Hank’s efforts, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is drafting its own set of mobile privacy recommendations. Casaretto believes that this particular initiative is driven by politics rather than concern for users’ welfare, simply because is completely redundant. What consumers need today is a more responsible developer community, not additional regulations.

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