Note: Airpush’s CEO response in comments about actual consent practices and pending policy revision.
On Monday, mobile ad network Airpush, which calls itself the “second largest mobile ad network,” revised their privacy statement in a major way. Now they state that they may collect personal data about your users, and reserve the right to share it with any marketer. This should be of great concern to the major brands that Airpush claims as customers, including BestBuy, Fandango and Hotels.com.
Airpush now explains that they can grab any data that your app has permission to use, including personal data (emphasis mine):
Airpush’s Service enables mobile application developers to provide free, ad-supported applications to end users. When you download a mobile application that utilizes our Service, we may collect information from your mobile device in accordance with the permissions you have granted when installing the application. For example, in accordance with the permissions you have granted, we may collect your device ID, device make and model, device IP address, mobile web browser type and version, mobile carrier, real-time location information, email address, phone number and a list of the mobile applications on your device.
Then they explain that there no longer any real limits on sharing it:
Disclosure of Data Collected through Our Service – We may share personal information about you as follows:
- with third party advertisers who are part of the Airpush mobile advertising platform for their direct marketing purposes …
Recommendation: Remove Airpush from your apps, unless you are prepared to provide a prominent notice to your users at that their personal data is now available to any marketer. If you keep Airpush installed, you will need to notify all of your users of this change in the rules.
Lesson: The privacy framework of your app is no better than the privacy framework of the companies that you allow to collect data about your users. Make sure you scan your apps so you know which companies are collecting data, and make sure you check their qualifications and policies.