In the mobile environment, data can be collected and shared with
ease. It is therefore of great concern to the Privacy
Commissioner/Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
(OAIC) that each individual's privacy is strictly protected, no
matter what platform/technology is used.
In May this year (
May Update) we updated you on the draft guide on mobile
privacy. Recently the final version of this guide Mobile
privacy: A better practice guide for mobile developers (Mobile
Guide) was released by the OAIC.
The Mobile Guide provides assistance to app developers and those
launching apps (whether private or government) on how to embed
better privacy practices within their products and services. This
remains an important issue for all app developers, particularly
given 57% of app users in the US have either avoided installing an
app due to privacy concerns or uninstalled an app because it was
collecting personal information they did not wish to share (click
here for more).
The final version of the Mobile Guide does not differ
extensively from the draft guide released in April 2013. Please see
May Update for a summary of the key elements of the draft guide
(which have now been finalised in the Mobile Guide).
However, the Mobile Guide does differ from the draft guide with
the inclusion of specific/additional guidance on the following
topical general privacy issues:
Sending personal information overseas
Managing sensitive information
Accommodating users with disabilities
Handling data breaches.
The Mobile Guide suggests that businesses and agencies that have
developed or launched, or are planning to develop or launch, an app
Determine whether the app collects sensitive information such
as details of the user's health (eg weight loss apps), sexual
preferences (eg dating apps) or political or philosophical opinions
(eg specific cause or human rights organisation apps) and, if so,
they must comply with additional obligations under the Privacy
Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) in relation to sensitive
information (ie build in express consent for use of the sensitive
to people with disabilities. For example, apps should utilise
screenreader software, which enables people with a visual
impairment to hear content aloud
Protect their customers' privacy by complying with
obligations that relate to the sending of personal information
that their personal information may be sent overseas (and specify
where) and take reasonable steps to ensure that the overseas
receiving entity complies with Australian privacy laws/the
Australian Privacy Principles (APPs)
Ensure data breaches are appropriately handled. While it is not
yet mandatory to notify breaches, there is an OAIC guidance (
Data Breaches) on when it might be appropriate for
organisations and agencies to consider notifying, at least, the
individuals impacted by the breach.
The Mobile Guide is essential reading for all developers and
businesses/agencies deploying in the mobile environment (in
particular for apps) in relation to the privacy obligations under
the amended Privacy Act and the new Australian Privacy Principles,
which are effective from 12 March 2014.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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