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New guide from ICO to using mobile apps securely

A survey of over 1,200 mobile apps by 26 privacy regulators from across the world has shown that a high number of apps are accessing large amounts of personal information without adequately explaining how people’s information is being used.

The survey by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) examined the privacy information provided by 1,211 mobile apps. As a member of GPEN, the Information Commissioner’s Office examined 50 of the top apps released by UK developers.

The key findings from the research were:

  • 85% of the apps surveyed failed to clearly explain how they were collecting, using and disclosing personal information.
  • More than half (59%) of the apps left users struggling to find basic privacy information.
  • Almost 1 in 3 apps appeared to request an excessive number of permissions to access additional personal information.

Our office, along with the other global data protection authorities represented on GPEN, are currently writing to the developers whose apps performed poorly.

To overcome this problem we have with Ofcom to release a new guide to help people use apps securely and safely that provides some top tips for keeping your information secure. The guide will help you control how much personal information the apps on your device can access and explains how you can securely delete apps once they’re no longer required.