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FTC issues guidelines for mobile applications

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a wide-reaching set of new guidelines for makers of mobile platforms and developers of applications for mobile telephones and tablets to safeguard users’ privacy.

The non-binding guidelines, published in a report on Friday, include the recommendation that companies should obtain consumers’ consent before including location tracking in software and applications, consider developing icons to depict the transmission of user data, and consider offering a “Do Not Track” mechanism for smartphone users.

The report also recommended that application developers have an easily accessible privacy policy, obtain consent before collecting and sharing sensitive information and consider participating in self-regulatory programs.

The FTC has been heightening its scrutiny of mobile devices, which are now the primary source of communication and Internet access for many users.

Among the companies who could be affected by the report are firms like Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

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