February 14, 2014
AARP Report Issues New Guidance for Mobile Phone Regulators, Industry, Consumer Groups
Cites Growing Privacy Concerns of Mobile Device Users
Washington, DC— A new report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute released today offers specific recommendations on privacy protection to regulators, legislators, industry, and consumer groups who work in the fast-changing world of mobile devices. The report, “Improving Mobile Device Privacy Disclosures,” notes studies showing that older consumers, one of the fastest-growing groups of mobile device users, express high levels of concern about the privacy of their information. However, older consumers are not using the mobile phone as a replacement for their reliable, landline phone service, but instead they are using it in addition to their existing service.
“We welcome new technology but want to help ensure that all people that use mobile devices have the opportunity to protect their privacy,” said AARP Executive Vice President Debra Whitman. “We hope this report encourages industry, legislative, regulatory, and other consumer groups to have an open dialogue about how best to safeguard consumers so that technology can continue to benefit people of all ages.”
- Specific recommendations from the report to regulators, legislators, industry groups, and consumer groups includes:
- Require privacy disclosure notices that are short, standardized, and easily accessible on smaller screens.
- Develop standards governing the collection, transfer, use, and disposal of sensitive data, such as locational data gathered through mobile devices.
- Notify app users about data practices that involve sensitive information or that collect data unrelated to the app’s basic functionality before the collection of any such data.
- Create a do-not-track mechanism to give device users a comprehensive way to prevent the tracking of their activities by third-party advertising networks.
- Develop consumer education programs that teach mobile device users about their privacy options and how to implement them.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.