Record-pace app sales reinforce urgency of authorities' mobile app privacy push

A global effort to improve awareness of mobile-app privacy policies could gain further weight after Apple released new figures confirming that mobile apps continue to be bought and downloaded at record-breaking pace.

Users of the company's App Store spent nearly $US500 million ($A619 million) on apps during the first week of January alone, Apple reported, with New Year's Day marking the biggest day of app purchasing in the App Store's history.

The figures came on the back of a “record-breaking 2014, in which billings rose 50 percent and apps generated over $US10 billion [$A12.4 billion] in revenue for developers,” Apple said in a statement in which senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said 2015 was “off to a tremendous start”.

With some 1.4 million smartphone and 725,000 tablet apps available in the App Store and device unit sales continuing to expand the user base, the growing popularity of mobile apps has raised red flags with global privacy authorities, which recently joined forces to promote better clarity and transparency around mobile-app privacy policies.

Last month, 23 privacy authorities from around the world – including Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim – wrote an open letter to mobile-app giants Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry, and Amazon.

The letter pushed the companies to mandate mobile app developers to provide links to their privacy policies before an app is downloaded, reflecting the privacy authorities' desire to improve transparency around the increasingly-common practice of collecting personal information from users.

“Directing users to where they can easily access an app's privacy policy will allow people to make a meaningfully informed decision about the collection and use of their data before making the decision to download the app,” Pilgrim said in a statement.

Privacy authorities are also pushing mobile app developers to build better security and privacy controls into their apps, with the AIC recently releasing a privacy guide for mobile app developers and promoting a “privacy by design approach” that Pilgrim said would “incorporate privacy considerations at the beginning of projects.”

“If mobile app marketplaces also require apps to provide users with easy access to the privacy policy,” he said, “then I believe that will be making progress towards improving the customer's privacy experience.”

The action by privacy authorities followed a May 2014 review of mobile app privacy that found 85 percent of reviewed mobile apps were accessing large amounts of personal information but failed to clearly explain how that information would be collected, used, and disclosed.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Read more: Risks in Retail: New POS Vulnerabilities and Malware

Upcoming IT Security Events

Feb 3rd, Feb 4th, Feb 6th 2015

Join @NirZuk #PaloAltoNetworks for Breakfast (lunch in Auckland) on keeping your enterprise safe from risk. Cyber attacks continue to increase in volume and sophistication leaving traditional security practices completely ineffective. 

Register Today Seats are limited

March 3rd, March 5th, March 9th 2015

Join CSO for the day@#csoperspectives and hear from @kimzetter @frankheidt

3 International Keynote speakers, 36 Key IT Security Industry Speaker, 21 Exhibitors, Security Analysts and many more.. Register today

Dont miss one of the biggest IT Security events in ANZ (registration is free, but seats are limited)

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacy pushamazon$US500 millionmobile-app giants GoogleInternet SoftwareApple releasedApp Store's historyBlackberrydownloadedAppleEnex TestLabsamsungAICMicrosoftNokiaCSO AustraliaRecord-pace

More about AppleCSOEnex TestLabGoogleIT SecurityMicrosoftNokiaSamsung

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place