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App ads prompt privacy concerns

7/31/2012

As consumers flock to various applications - everything from crossword puzzle games and Words With Friends to recipe databases or news tickers - advertisers also are analyzing ways to make money off the downloads. Therefore, IT and software developers need to make sure they have a strong privacy policy and terms of use in place to keep consumers safe.

Mobile security firm LookOut recently revealed that some advertising networks have access to 80 million smartphones around the world, Reuters reported. Global users have downloaded more than 80 million apps that include aggressive ads.

"Aggressive ad networks are much more prevalent than malicious applications. It's the most prevalent mobile privacy issue that exists," Kevin Mahaffey, LookOut's technology chief and co-founder, told Reuters in an interview.

To keep users safe, Facebook recently announced it would require mobile software application privacy policies. California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the requirement and noted that she believes mobile software application developers are ruled by the state's 2004 Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires the posting of privacy policies by companies that collect personal information such as names and email addresses.