Privacy Policies : Is It necessary for Mobile Apps?

With the increasing use of mobile phones, new applications are developed for numerous purposes. However, these applications other than fulfilling the customer’s demands also collect a lot of valuable data from the mobile. This data may include the user’s personal information, pages visited on the Internet and geographical location. As sharing such type of data is very sensitive case for almost all the users, privacy policies have special importance for many people.

However, software industries do not encourage these policies. The data they collect through apps are intended to use for designing advertisements relevant to the users’ interests. So a high level of privacy builds a fear of low growth speed as collected information may not be used according to the will of the industry.

As the technology literacy rate is generally increasing, without privacy policies data may be misused or stolen. As a result, most people will avoid keeping sensitive data in mobile phones so that it cannot be misused. So a simple solution is privacy policies disclosed to the users so they can decide whether to download the application or not. In this way the user will be aware that important information is being collected and how it is used. Unfortunately many people do not consider it important reading the terms and agreements. However, that is a mistake by the user and no one else can be held responsible for the consequences.

A user must be aware of how his data can be used. The usage depends upon the application and software developer. It may be used for contacting the user, changing the application as per user needs or to tell the user about any prize won. Knowing about the usage, the user will not be irritated by unexpectedly hearing his confidential information from a third person. However, despite the efforts of improving these policies, there are still some practices which are hidden from the users.

The thing which interests a user to use an application is the free download. However, free download is not free at all! Although the client doesn’t pay money for the app but he gives his data required by the software developer mostly without knowing. If the client comes to know about this data exchange, he will definitely lose trust on such applications. So privacy policies are very important to build and maintain the customer’s trust. In other words, it is a way to make a good place in the market.

Another critical issue concerning mobile applications is the collection of data from younger users, up to the age of 13.As these children may not be fully aware of the data usage and collection by these apps, permission must be taken from the parents or guardians. In case, permission is not granted data should not be collected from children or if collected should be deleted as soon as possible. This will avoid any exposure to legal issues causing difficulties for the users.

Once the mobile applications collect data, if there are no proper privacy policies, the data may be circulated to different people without the permission and acknowledgement of the client. This goes against the Data Protection Act which clearly states that data should be kept confidential and disposed after utilized. So privacy policies if disclosed to the user to avoid any such violation of the law as the user confirms his permission by agreeing to the policies. In this way, the terms and agreements related to the data usage and collection will not be violated often.

So we can conclude that privacy policies are necessary for mobile apps. Regardless of the fact that they may cause hindrance in the growth of software industries but on the other hand they contribute to an honest business benefiting both, customer and businessman. Due to increasing competition from mobile application developers in the market, it is difficult to build and maintain a respectable position. This is possible with clear privacy policies open to the consumer. It may not have sudden benefits but in long terms, it is an essential tool in achieving the trust of customers attracting them to develop great business relations. In this way the user is fully aware of all the conditions and is never disturbed with fearful doubts relating the security of his precious data.

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About the Author

Mantra is a Business Consultant & strategic thought leader bridging the divide between technology and client satisfaction. With 12 years of knowledge, innovation and hands-on experience in providing consultations to Startups, ISVs & Agencies who need dedicated development & technology partners. He has also lead to the delivery of countless successful projects.
Blogging is his passion & he shares his expertise here through ValueCoders.. Follow him on Twitter & LinkedIn

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