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Olshan partner: Build privacy considerations into apps from the outset

NEW YORK ? An attorney from Olshan Frome Wolosky at the sixth annual Mobile Marketing Day said marketers should build privacy considerations into mobile applications from the get-go, thinking about how privacy is going to play when the app is launched, as people use it and interact with other third-party apps as well as how technology might evolve.

In the session, ?New Legal Developments in Mobile Marketing, Mobile Apps and Tracking,? the attorney said other best practices from a legal standpoint include being transparent about data practices, offering privacy settings, opt-outs or other ways for users to control how their personal information is collected and shared and honoring privacy promises.

?The key thing that marketers need to think about is that irrespective of the medium they are using, traditional advertising laws apply,? said Andrew Lustigman, partner with Olshan Frome Wolosky, New York. ?You need to think about how the laws are going to apply to the device.

?So if you need to make a disclosure, if that disclosure is something someone is going to be able to see with new mobile technology, then you need to think about the different platforms that are out there.

?You also need to think about privacy, because privacy very much matters, given that we all have our mobile device next to us almost at all times.?

Mobile Marketing Day is a Mobile Marketer event jointly hosted with the Direct Marketing Association.

Best practices
Best practices also include protecting kids? privacy, which entails collecting sensitive information only with consent and keeping user data secure.

In this last point, only needed data should be collected, with the kept data secured by taking reasonable precautions against well-known security risks. Access also should be limited to a need-to-know basis. 

Andrew Lustigman at Mobile Marketing Day.

Data that is no longer needed should be safely disposed of.

The session heard how major consumer brands were hit with stiff penalties for violating laws governing mobile communications in various class-action settlements.

Lifetime Fitness agreed to pay $15 million to settle allegations related to text message blasts to current members. In another example, AT&T Mobility settled accusations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for $45 million.

Best Buy agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle a case and Papa John?s Pizza had a $16 million settlement.

In a widely publicized case, Apple agreed to provide refunds of at least $32.5 million to consumers who were billed for in-app charges that were incurred by children and were either accidental or not authorized by the consumer. 

The maker of the iPhone also agreed to modify its billing practices to ensure it obtained consumers? express, informed consent prior to billing them for in-app charges.

Getting consent
?So think about, are you getting the proper consent for the right type of privacy and this is especially true when it relates to children,? Mr. Lustigman said. ?Kids? privacy very much matters, particularly as it relates to contact information or geo-location information. 

Brands were fined heavily for breaking mobile communications laws.

?And lastly, think about if you are going to be contacting consumers with their mobile device,? he said. ?Do you have the right permission? Have you gotten the permission that may be necessary in order to text someone or to call them on their mobile device??

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York