FDA plans to regulate some mobile health apps; Department of Defense isn’t getting rid of BlackBerrys


March 21st was a busy day for mobile regulations. Christy Foreman, director of the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation, said, “Smartphones, tablets, app stores, and mobile networks won’t be subject to Food and Drug Administration regulation just because they can be used as platforms for mobile health apps,” at a House of Representatives hearing.


FierceMobileGovernment’s Zach Rausnitz reported that the FDA will only regulate apps that pose a high risk to consumers. For example, apps that help users with diets or count their steps won’t require FDA approval. However, an app that claims to diagnose skin cancer could pose dangers to users. The FDA has reviewed about 100 mobile health apps so far and plans to finalize its guidance for mobile apps by the end of the fiscal year. That should remove the uncertainty developers may have over whether their apps will be subject to regulation.


Also on March 21st, rumors surfaced that the Department of Defense (DoD) was going to get rid of its long standing contract with BlackBerry in order to switch to iPhones. But WIRED’s Spencer Ackerman reported on the DoD’s statements which quelled rumors that it was ditching BlackBerry devices in favor of iOS devicesThe confusion stemmed from a March 7 Electronista report that claimed the DoD would stop testing BlackBerry 10 devices as a way to avoid $5 million in spending. BlackBerry clarified the situation, saying it’s working with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) andexpects approval for the BlackBerry Device Service, BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry PlayBook by early April. The BlackBerry 10 is the first device to go through DISA’s new security requirement guide approval process.


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