On May 30, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a public workshop addressing the need for new guidance on advertising and privacy disclosures online and in mobile environments. During the workshop, the FTC announced that it hopes to release an updated version of its online advertising disclosure guidance this fall that would incorporate input from businesses and consumer advocates. Topics explored at the workshop included:

  • Best practices for privacy disclosures on mobile platforms and how they can be short, effective and accessible to consumers;
  • how to put disclosures in proximity to offers on mobile platforms;
  • social media disclosures; and
  • the placement of material information on webpages.

The Federal Communications Commission also recently announced plans to update its mobile privacy guidance. On May 25, 2012, the FCC issued a public notice seeking comments on the privacy and data security practices of mobile wireless service providers with respect to customer information stored on users’ devices. The FCC is seeking comments on how the practices of wireless service providers have evolved since 2007, when the FCC last sought input on how service providers used and protected consumer information contained on mobile devices. The FCC has requested that comments address:

  • Whether and how consumers are given meaningful notice and choice with respect to service providers’ collection of usage-related information;
  • new risks or concerns about consumer privacy and data security raised by new practices; and
  • whether the FCC should take steps to encourage privacy by design in the software for mobile devices.

On June 13, 2012, the FCC’s public notice was published in the Federal Register. The FCC will take comments until July 13, 2012.