Privacy-proof Apps - New Informative campaign of the Italian data protection authority On 1 February, the Garante (Italian data protection authority) launched an informative campaign examining the issue of privacy in mobile applications ("apps") with the aim of raising awareness among smartphone and tablet users on the various privacy concerns that should be considered when using apps, especially when users are minors. To view the Garante's campaign, please click here and here. Apps are regarded as useful, fun and in some cases, even essential. With the wide variety of offerings being made available to users, there is basically an app for everything. Because of the rampant use of apps in our day-to-day lives, it becomes especially important to understand its risks since users are not always aware of how apps collect and use personal data. The Garante aims to shed light on some of the vital issues that users should consider when using apps so that they are able to take advantage of its benefits while remaining in control of personal data. The first issue to consider is the kinds of data that the app may use. It is essential that users pay close attention to the kind of information that the app collects and why. An app may collect and use a significant number of users' personal information; it may also have access to information stored on the user' device, including photos, and they may share this information with third parties or even publish it on the Internet. If users find out that the information that the app asks for is not relevant, they should refrain from installing the app. The second issue relates to the terms and conditions and the privacy policies of apps - do users even bother reading and understanding them? The principle of transparency envisioned by the new European Data Protection Regulation addresses this issue since there is a specific obligation to deliver information using concise, clear and plain language. The third issue concerns security: users should be warned that when downloading an app, they may also inadvertently download viruses or malwares, so that it becomes important for source of the app to be verified as a trusted source. Last but not the least, minors, who are more exposed to the risks of misuse of their personal information, should not be allowed to download apps on their own, and must always have parental guidance when downloading and using apps. The rationale behind the Garante's campaign is that the first tool for privacy protection is awareness. Therefore, it is of primary importance to be duly informed beforehand and understand the risks that come with using apps. The Garante reminds users to gather information on who will be using their personal information, the period that data is stored or retained, and the extent that data is shared with third parties. For more information, please contact Francesca Gaudino.