The Privacy of Your Consumer: What it Really Means

By Eric Sloan

Fed­er­al com­pli­ance in regard to mobile appli­ca­tions is very cru­cial to auto­mo­tive deal­er­ships — par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to the shar­ing of per­son­al infor­ma­tion.

Mobile appli­ca­tions rep­re­sent the ulti­mate adver­tis­ing chan­nel that pro­vides the con­sumer with choice. An app must be down­loaded — and the con­sumer can choose, at the device lev­el, to con­trol how the appli­ca­tion will per­form. The only thing the con­sumer does not have con­trol over is how his or her per­son­al infor­ma­tion is shared.

And that’s why the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion (FTC) and the state of Cal­i­for­nia are lead­ing the charge when it comes to mobile app com­pli­ance. They are crack­ing down, putting a major push on the pri­va­cy front.

It’s so seri­ous that if you fail to respect this pro­tec­tion of the con­sumer, it can be cost­ly. For instance, the FTC can seek civ­il penal­ties of up to $16,000 per pri­va­cy vio­la­tion – mea­sured by each con­sumer down­load – and the Cal­i­for­nia attor­ney gen­er­al is autho­rized to seek up to $2,500 per appli­ca­tion down­load if pri­va­cy terms are not pro­vid­ed.

Con­sumer and reg­u­la­tor con­cern is cen­tered on the theft and mis­use of per­son­al infor­ma­tion. If you share con­sumer infor­ma­tion, then say so. Tell con­sumers what infor­ma­tion is col­lect­ed and what is done with that infor­ma­tion. And be sure to keep the infor­ma­tion secure.

So remem­ber, just because it’s mobile doesn’t mean that adver­tis­ing laws and reg­u­la­tions don’t apply. The need for a promi­nent dis­clo­sure of terms and con­di­tions and a pri­va­cy pol­i­cy in mobile apps is rapid­ly evolv­ing and deal­ers are at risk if they are using an app that doesn’t apply.

* Please note: The infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed here­in is for edu­ca­tion­al and infor­ma­tion­al pur­pos­es only and should not be con­strued as legal advice. Read­ers should always obtain the advice of inde­pen­dent legal coun­sel relat­ed to their own spe­cif­ic and unique cir­cum­stances.

Eric Sloan is Vice Pres­i­dent of Com­pli­ance for   the indus­try leader in sci­ence based, results dri­ven auto­mo­tive mar­ket­ing that pro­vides a range of mar­ket­ing ser­vices to the biggest and most inno­v­a­tive auto­mo­tive orga­ni­za­tions in the indus­try. For more infor­ma­tion, email [email protected].

 

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