Smartphone apps pose 'significant' privacy risks
Apps for smartphones and tablets can pose "significant" privacy risks for consumers if they aren't aware of how their personal data is used, European Union privacy regulators said yesterday.
"Although app developers want to provide new and innovative services, the apps may have significant risks to the private life and reputation of users of smart devices if they do not comply with EU data-protection law," the EU's 27 data protection watchdogs said in a joint opinion published on the Irish Data Protection Commissioner's website.
The EU regulators said users "must be in control of their own personal data" and informed how it's used when they download an app.
Everyone involved in developing mobile software programs "has a set of important responsibilities to create a safe, secure and data-protection-compliant app environment", the umbrella group for national privacy authorities in the EU added.
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said earlier this month that US-based technology giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple and other non-European companies that offered services in the European Union must abide by the bloc's overhauled data-protection rules.
Google and Facebook are among several US internet companies that have faced scrutiny in the EU for possible privacy-rule violations over their use of personal data.
While the group has no powers to enforce its opinions directly, national data-protection regulators in Europe have varying levels of power to take action, including the levying of fines, against companies.