FTC Issues Guidance for Mobile App Privacy and Advertising; Signals More Enforcement Coming

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On September 5, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a brief guide to assist developers of mobile applications, both large and small, in complying with truth-in-advertising, privacy, and data security principles. In publishing this advice, the FTC makes clear that its Section 5 enforcement powers against unfair or deceptive acts or practices apply in the mobile app arena, and with equal force to large and small developers.

The FTC’s guidance briefly lays out the practices developers should follow in order to avoid such enforcement, thereby suggesting that more enforcement is on the horizon. Indeed, it has already started: last August the FTC reached a settlement with W3 Innovations, LLC for alleged violations of the COPPA rule in its apps directed at children.

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