But when those companies lack privacy policies, the FTC can't easily charge them with deception even if those companies collect questionable data, or sell information that users thought was confidential, to ad networks.
As things stand, no federal law requires app developers (or other Web companies) to make any promises to consumers regarding privacy. But even without legislation, developers could face some pressure on this front.
This week, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) explicitly urged Google and Apple to require that apps in their stores have privacy policies. In letters to the companies, Franken said that doing so "would be a simple first step that would provide users, privacy advocates, and federal consumer protection authorities a minimum of information about what information an app will access and how that app will share that information with third parties."