A recent study by the think tank Future of Privacy Forum found that 22 of the top 30 paid mobile apps lack privacy policies altogether. As for the remainder, they might have policies -- but that doesn't mean they're privacy-friendly.
And, though guidelines governing mobile privacy are still emerging, Vladeck questioned whether apps should be gathering information they don't need. "A lot of apps are pulling down data that has nothing to do with functionality," he said. "If you have an app to test battery levels of your device, why would it pull down your location?"
Mobile privacy overall has garnered a lot of attention these last few weeks, given the news that iPhones, iPads and Android devices collected detailed information about users' locations.
Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who recently introduced do-not-track legislation, said today that Vladeck, along with executives from Google, Facebook and other companies, will testify at an upcoming hearing about mobile privacy. The hearing, to be held Thursday by the consumer protection subcommittee, will focus on current industry data collection practices as well as "the possible role of the federal government in protecting consumers in the mobile marketplace and promoting their privacy," Rockefeller announced.