Consumer privacy concerns affect businesses large and small, says Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe. Just look at what happened with the startup Path, which in February was fined $800,000 by the Federal Trade Commission for storing the private data of underage users. (Path took a pretty big public relations hit, too.)
Showing customers that your business cares about privacy can also give your business a competitive edge. Consumers, after all, are increasingly wary of how much data businesses collect about them — and just what happens to it. In a survey by Consumer Reports, 71 percent of respondents said they are very concerned about companies selling or sharing personal information about them without permission.
Avoiding Legal Trouble
Small businesses that offer mobile apps should make privacy a priority. Why? In California, state Attorney General Kamala Harris has vowed to be tough on mobile app developers. Last October, she sent warnings to 100 companies that failed to comply with the state’s online privacy laws. In January, Harris issued a set of guidelines for mobile app developers to help protect consumers and their personal information. Meanwhile, on a national level, the White House and the Federal Trade Commission are developing a framework for consumer privacy.