Tuesday, October 6th3.3°C

Don't go there, 'privacy-friendly' apps

Several Canadian privacy watchdogs have created a set of guidelines to help mobile developers create "privacy-friendly" smartphone apps.

And they warn that failing to be transparent about any information collected could see developers running afoul of both the law and their potential customers.

Federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart joined her counterparts in British Columbia and Alberta in releasing a 12-page document that explains how Canada's privacy laws apply to mobile app developers, whether they're based in this country or farther afield.

Stoddart says it's been a challenge to ensure everyone in the growing mobile app industry knows that the rules apply to them.

"We were concerned that apps often seem to have nothing to do with Canadian law on the use of personal information," Stoddart says in an interview.

"Sometimes they're not aware. Sometimes I get the impression they don't care and they're not going out of their way to find out. And sometimes it's a catch-me-if-you-can attitude."

Stoddart says any developer that sells an app to Canadians must comply with the same privacy legislation as any other business.

That, according to the guide, means developers are responsible for ensuring any information they collect from users is relevant to their product and is securely stored. Users must be fully informed and must consent to the type of information that will be collected and what will be done with it.

The guide offers tips to ensure developers are thinking about privacy from the planning stages of an app.

"Because of the hugely networked online world, bad news travels fast, and there's always the privacy-conscious people out there who can spread the word if they don't think (an app) is respectful of their privacy," says Stoddart.

"In spite of urban myths to the contrary, they don't want to give away demographic information or where their location is to get apps for free."

Federal and provincial privacy commissioners have the power to enforce privacy laws. They can launch investigations and order companies to shape up. If they don't comply, the commissioners can then ask the courts to step in.

The Canadian Press

Read more Business News


Recent Trending

Today's Market
S&P TSX13552.20+212.46
S&P CDNX529.91+4.35
S&P 5001987.05+35.69
CDN Dollar0.7642-0.0002
Natural Gas2.483+0.033

Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.215+0.000
QHR Technologies Inc1.22+0.03
Metalex Ventures0.06+0.00
Russel Metals22.51+1.03
Copper Mountain Mining0.50+0.08
Colorado Resources0.07-0.01
ReliaBrand Inc0.004-0.000
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.02+0.00
Mission Ready Services0.095+0.005
Decisive Dividend Corp3.49+0.00
Diamcor Mining0.90+0.02


21948395340 Signet Crescent
3 bedrooms 3 baths
more details
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading

Perfect (reno'd) home

Photo: Thinkstock.comHow many times have you found a home in the perfect location, but it needs too much work as per the home inspection? There is a great program available through most lenders that w...

Living beyond 100

Photo: ContributedThere was a time most careers involved an apprenticeship of one sort another. Some official, others involving years of servitude, and others time simply spent watching and emulating ...

5 Claim misconceptions

Photo: Thinkstock.comIf you have been hurt in an accident or as a result of medical negligence you will likely look to your friends and family for some advice on how to deal with the situation. These ...




Member of BC Press Council