In the discussions at Wednesday’s NTIA multistakeholder meeting, considerable time was spent hearing alternatives to the process outlined by the agency. There were a small number of participants who participated reluctantly, feeling they lacked sufficient technical understanding of the app marketplace to provide a valuable contribution.
As the trade association representing app makers, ACT agrees that stakeholders should have a thorough understanding of the technical issues underlying our marketplace before considering regulatory steps. We are pleased to provide our assistance as app developers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs by opening up the hood to explain the machinery behind the app economy.
When testifying before the House and Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees, we have prefaced our written testimony with an introduction to the app economy, the technical challenges app developers face, and the efforts we have undertaken to meet consumers’ concerns about privacy. We have also conducted a number of studies and published the data to provide resources for those interested in the app marketplace.
We offer these resources to stakeholders and welcome the opportunity to participate in any discussions or briefings that may provide a better understanding of the thriving app economy. There are also mobile app conferences taking place locally in September at which we would welcome stakeholder visits.
|“American developers dominate U.S.-based app stores with broad representation from throughout the country. The app industry is not simply a Silicon Valley phenomenon, with nearly 60 percent of top app development companies formed outside of California.”|
Reply Comments Submitted to the FTC Review of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (12/23/2011)
|“Most app development is done by a small number of people utilizing collections of common code. In some ways, modern development practices are similar to building with Legos. Individual pieces may come in the form of “Software Development Kits” (SDK) and huge object code libraries found in common developer tools. But just like Legos, the developer is responsible for putting the pieces together in a unique and innovative way. This small-scale development is a core feature of app development and allows tiny one-man shops to develop software that rivals huge mega-corporations. However, due to their small size, app developers often lack the ability to negotiate with the large companies whose tools or SDKs they must use, instead facing a take-it or leave-it contract.”|
|“The biggest hurdle to implementing industry-wide privacy standards is developer education. There are over 200,000 app developers in the United States. App makers want to do the right thing on privacy, but often don’t know whether their app creates privacy concerns or what they need to do to be rules compliant. As most small business app developers are making customer-facing software for the first time, they are also addressing privacy issues for the first time. Matters typically handled by a legal department or chief privacy officer in a larger company are now most often handled by a small business owner.”|
|“Educators are also exploring the benefits that app‐powered tablet devices can have in the classroom. Just a few months ago, the state of Alabama passed legislation that would give every student a tablet to use for books and class work. This will provide every student access to advanced learning tools that touchscreen devices provide, while also reducing the weight of our children’s backpacks. The dramatic success certain apps have had providing individualized teaching and assistance to special needs children cannot be understated.”|