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More about the privacy pledge

Plenty of you have seen—and indeed signed— the App Makers’ Privacy Pledge on GitHub. If you haven’t, but after reading it are interested, see the instructions in the project README.

It’s great to see so many app makers taking an interest in this issue, and the main goal of the pledge is to raise awareness of app privacy concerns: awareness among developers that this is something to take seriously, and awareness among our customers that there are developers committed to respecting their identities and their data.

But awareness is useless if not followed through, so we need to do more. We need materials that developers can refer to: the GSM Association have good guidelines on app practices. We need actionable tasks that developers can implement right away, like Matt Gemmell’s hashing guide for social apps. We need sample code and libraries that developers can rely on. We need data lawyers to explain what the current regulations are, and what’s coming down the pipe. We need to convince the industry and the governments that we can regulate our own actions. We need the ability to audit our apps and determine whether they’re privacy-preserving. We need to be able to demonstrate to customers what we’ve done, and explain why that’s a good thing. We need to earn customer trust.

So there’s a lot to do, and the pledge is only the start. It’s off to a good start, but there’s still a long way to go.