Chris Babel


Today, Google took a positive step toward simplifying the communications around Apps Marketplace app privacy with the launch of TRUSTe’s data privacy certification for Apps Marketplace app owners.


In general, businesses are careful about sharing or allowing access to corporate or employee data. But maintaining privacy becomes more complex with each new app you adopt from the Marketplace.


Further, the capabilities offered through these ‘extended’ apps drive significant internal demand within an organization – as users clamor for apps to expand on the capabilities of what’s currently installed.


Yet before an IT buyer for businesses and schools installs the app for others in his or her organization, the administrator is often left to his own devices to figure out if a certain app is appropriate or not. Performing due diligence is often time consuming and sometimes frustrating.


Today’s announcement changes that. With TRUSTe’s data privacy certification for Apps Marketplace, organizations now have a way to quickly and confidently assess the data privacy practices of the desired apps for their particular usage.


TRUSTe certification helps a potential apps buyer reduce time in understanding how an app collects, stores, manages and shares data with others. For example, TRUSTe certification allows a buyer to quickly answer the following key questions:

1. Do the manifest descriptions clearly explain accurate usage of Google data?
2. Does the application use SSL when communicating with Google’s APIs?
3. Does the application securely store sensitive information including user password, OAuth tokens, & application credentials?


Buyers can also view the details of their privacy policy by clicking on the TRUSTe seal in the app information page. The app owner’s data privacy practices are laid out in an easy-to-understand format so the buyer does not have to have an attorney present just to make sense of the practices.


In short, data privacy certification for apps in the Google Apps Marketplace helps improve the app evaluation process by providing IT buyers and their business users more information about the app owner’s privacy practices and how their data is handled.


App marketplace customers can easily identify which apps are certified by looking for the familiar and highly trusted green-and-black TRUSTe logo next to app listing when browsing apps.


If a user or the IT buyer has a question for the app owner, they can quickly locate contact information for that app company in the TRUSTe-hosted privacy policy. Finally, if a user has a dispute with the app company about their privacy practices, they can also provide feedback to TRUSTe who will work with the app owner to obtain a quick resolution.


Today, I’d like to thank Google for providing an excellent model of how to help protect user privacy and increase transparency within the app marketplace – for both businesses and users. It is an encouraging move for others to take note of as a way to help users make more informed choices.