The lure of riches has ensured phenomenal growth in the mobile application market both in terms of numbers of mobile applications and overall market value. Developers are turning their hands to this market with gusto as the opportunity for profits accelerates. However as with most opportunities there are risks and the recent decision, reported by the BBC, of groups of iPhone and iPad owners to pool resources to take application developers and brand owners to court over alleged breaches of privacy and data security highlight this.
This highlights some great food for thought for information security folk and those responsible and accountable for business decisions including brand and supply chain management.
Don’t underestimate it. Whilst in Europe you don’t see collective action by consumers on the scale that we see in the US, yet, US consumers are increasingly holding businesses to account for their privacy and data security gaffs and are pursuing them for financial recompense. And before you say ”but I am not based in the US”, don’t underestimate the impact privacy and data security laws in the US have elsewhere or the growing trend for providing consumers with stronger powers to enforce their privacy and data security expectations. Neither should you discount how widely your application will be downloaded. Apps know no geographical boundaries!! And if your ambitious you’ll want to see your apps being downloaded across the world.
Supply Chain Management & Collateral Damage
If you are going to run a programme for promoting approved applications to be used on your devices, in this case iPhone and iPad, then you need to have the right third party assurance policy in place to reduce the risk of collateral damage. However, it doesn’t stop there. You have also got to enforce this effectively to weed out those who don’t comply and who put your customers and therefore your brand at risk.
The BBC article states that 6 developers, including Apple, are being pursued. However the article uses the instantly recognisable iPhone and iPad brands to add substance to the article. This associates iPhone and iPad with data security and privacy problems. Something they’ve suffered from in the past and which they are striving to avoid in the future you would hope.
The “Perception Gap”
I coined this phrase several year ago. It is the gap between what you think and say and what is actually happening. Apple and 5 others developers of applications stand accused of saying one thing in their privacy statements and doing another in reality. If you make assurances about privacy and data security which can not be backed up in reality then these will be leveraged when consumers and business customers hold you to account in a court of law.