MEF, a global trade association for companies wishing to monetise their products and services via mobile, has launched AppPrivacy with the goal of building consumer trust in mobile apps by “helping developers apply best practice in the collection and sharing of personal information”.

MEF says the free online tool provides an “industry-led privacy policy generator” that makes it easy to incorporate privacy best practice into app development and design workflow, backed with the “latest data resources and developer-friendly guidance on privacy issues”.

AppPrivacy, claims MEF, enables developers to offer consumers a short, easy-to-understand privacy policy that explains how their data is being used.

MEF’s Global Privacy Report 2013 showed that only a third of consumers are comfortable sharing personal data with an app. Transparency is key: 70 per cent consider it important to know when an app is gathering and sharing their personal information.

In August, MEF also revealed that more than a quarter of the top 100 free apps still don’t have a privacy policy and, of those that do, only a third offer access to the policy within the app.

AppPrivacy was developed to address this shortcoming by MEF’s global cross-sector Privacy in Mobile Apps Working Group.

Founded in 2012 the 15-company strong group includes privacy experts from the US, Europe and Middle East, including representatives from Dentons, Evidon, InMobi, Kaspersky Labs, Mozilla, TRUSTe, Preiskel & Co and Vodafone.

“Consumers’ trust in our industry will be built on transparency and ease of understanding in dealing with their private data,” said MEF global chair Andrew Bud. “That’s a tough combination to deliver, and our research shows that many providers have struggled with it. Now, building on the expertise of our cross-stakeholder group, AppPrivacy delivers credible, practical solutions to ensure best practice in our industry.”