Are Ethics in Mobile Advertising Out of Whack in China?

An eye-opening report out of China indicates that mobile advertising practices in China may be in need of some ethical tweaking.

A new undercover investigation is shedding light on some highly questionable practices, including advertising on pirated copycat apps and selling user data to mobile ad agencies.

Based on details of the CCTV report obtained by CNET, plentiful examples of unethical tactics abound.

A representative of Wooboo mobile advertising agency told reporters they advertised mostly on pirated apps, but it was not a copyright problem since they did not develop the pirated apps, but just served ads. It then split the profits with those developers.

The full extent of these and other practices in China isn’t known. But industry statistics dragged into the report state that 73 percent of malicious advertising “would attempt to get user location information, while 47 percent of them would target users’ phone number, pointing to higher security risks for users.”

Although it isn’t yet clear how these practices will be curbed, the growing media and consumer awareness will likely result in some degree of positive influence.