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Germany sets standards for consumer-friendly apps
Germany sets standards for consumer-friendly apps
Time icon 5 May 2017, 7:31 am

Consumers are increasingly worrying whether the friendly-looking app they’re inviting onto their phone may actually turn out to be less friendly in practice. The areas of concern are legion. Take data protection – if consumers have other apps on their phone, such as banking, they need to be sure that the app they just downloaded isn’t hostile. The concerns are even graver when the app has permission to track their location or scan their emails. Photos are now becoming an issue too, since facial recognition is beginning to be widely used.


User friendly may not be consumer friendly

In part, the problem is that many apps have a user-friendly appearance, and it’s difficult to imagine that they are actually data mining your phone, tablet or laptop. And if consumers do have concerns, where do they go to check the app and its manufacturer? It’s impractical for them to read all the terms and conditions for every app that they download. 

The Germans have taken a lead in this field by producing a Best Practice Catalogue for consumer-friendly apps. This catalogue has been developed with the involvement of app store operators, the software industry, consumer organisations and others.


Finally - the Best Practice Catalogue for Apps 

The Catalogue covers key areas such as the privacy policy of the app. It also, crucially, describes the cost of the app and for those that appear “free” gives guidance on advertising and support. It focuses on areas that are a constant source of complaint for consumers, such as in-app purchasing. 

It is available in translation via Google translate, and should interest those involved in the software industry throughout Europe, since it’s highly likely that the industry will eventually be forced to follow a best practice model of this kind.