MMA Proposes Mobile Application Privacy Policy Framework

The Mobile Marketing Association ("MMA"), an industry group, has released its Mobile Application Privacy Policy Framework ("Guidelines") for public comment, which they are accepting through November 18th. The intent of the Guidelines is to create a framework for developers to use to provide clear and functional privacy disclosures to consumers who use mobile applications.

The Guidelines follow the traditional notice sections of most web policies, including information collected by the developer and by advertisers, how the information is used and whether it is shared.  The Guidelines also suggest language for certain disclosures that are unique to the mobile world, such as whether precise location data is collected. However, the Guidelines do not take a position on certain core privacy issue (e.g. there is no position taken that all applications must offer certain opt-out choices or must obtain consent for certain practices); rather, the Guidelines are limited to optional language if certain practices are applicable.

The Guidelines do provide sample language that is consumer friendly and they likely cover the necessary topics for most applications.  As such, they may be a useful starting point, but they are just that – a starting point.  There is sample language but the specifics must be filled in by the developer and, most importantly, the disclosures must be accurate for the specific application.  There is no “one size fits all” template in the privacy world.  Thus, the MMA itself strongly suggests that developers consult with privacy counsel or privacy professional to assist in developing a final privacy policy for a specific application. 

The Guidelines are also fairly long and thus the question remains: how do developers provide this key notice to consumers in a prominent and consumer-friendly fashion on the small screen of a mobile device?  That is an issue that will need to be more fully worked out as technology and privacy practices develop in the mobile world. 

For more information on the Guidelines, visit