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Rep. Hank Johnson Intros Apps Act Privacy Bill

May 10, 2013

Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the bipartisan Application Privacy, Protection and Security (Apps) Act of 2013 (H.R. 1913), a bill to increase consumer privacy on mobile devices.

The Apps Act would require app developers maintain privacy policies, obtain consent from consumers before collecting data, and securely maintain the data they collect.

Rep. Johnson announced the introduction of the bill at the 5th Annual State of the Mobile Net Conference being held at the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum on Capitol Hill.

“A year ago I launched AppRights, an online effort to build mobile privacy legislation from the bottom up. I learned from CISPA and SOPA, and I wanted to build something the right way,” said Johnson.

“The overwhelming majority of participants who helped build the legislation – more than 80 percent – confirmed that Congress should protect consumers’ privacy on mobile devices,” he said. “These engaged citizens also wanted simple controls over privacy on devices, security to prevent data breaches, and notice and information about data collection on the device. The Apps Act answers the call.”

Amidst the growing clamor for federal action to safeguard consumers’ privacy and security, Congressman Johnson used the feedback to solicit ideas from the public and keep Americans in the loop as he explored how federal law could better protect app users’ rights.

Rep. Johnson worked closely with developers and stakeholders to ensure that it protects consumers without disrupting functionality or innovation through the APPS Act’s safe harbor and other mechanisms to promote trust through self-regulation.

AppRights is a web-based legislative project launched in July 2012 that opened a public conversation about how Congress can help ensure the privacy and security of mobile device users. For more on the legislation or to join the online mobile privacy discussion: visit http://www.AppRights.us and to interact via Twitter (@AppRightsUS) and Facebook.

What the experts are saying about the APPS Act:

“The Apps Act of 2013 contains several provisions that will advance transparency in mobile apps. The Act requires developers to clearly explain the types, uses, and retention period for any personal data collected. Furthermore, the Act allows consumers to demand the deletion of their personal data from apps they no longer intend to use, and gives the Federal Trade Commission rulemaking authority on mobile app transparency.” – David Jacobs, Consumer Protection Counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

“Mobile apps have become the Wild West of the Internet. The APPS Act of 2013 will give consumers the ability to understand what happens to their data and some control over its use. This is a significant and important step forward in protecting consumers' privacy.” – John Simpson, Privacy Project Director at Consumer Watchdog.

“This bill is a common-sense approach to an urgent problem – millions of consumers are using mobile applications for a host of activities, some very personal, and yet they lack basic rights with respect to the data that may be collected about them. The APPS Act of 2013 will give consumers the information and control they need to use apps with confidence.” – Susan Grant, Director of Consumer Protection at Consumer Federation of America.

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