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Apple, Google, Microsoft and others commit to mobile apps privacy

Apps must offer clear privacy policies
Thu Feb 23 2012, 11:27

THE CALIFORNIA Attorney General's office has signed a worldwide agreement with a number of technology firms that should ensure security for using mobile applications.

The leading players in the industry have put their names to the agreement, which means that from now on, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, RIM, and HP should play nice with their mobile users. The agreement says that any mobile application that collects personal information, and there are many, must have a privacy policy. Until now, said the state's lawyers, most have not.

"Your personal privacy should not be the cost of using mobile apps, but all too often it is," said California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

"This agreement strengthens the privacy protections of California consumers and of millions of people around the globe who use mobile apps. By ensuring that mobile apps have privacy policies, we create more transparency and give mobile users more informed control over who accesses their personal information and how it is used."

From now on any mobile application that collects personal information will have to "conspicuously post a privacy policy" that provides clear information about what data is collected and why.

Any developer that does not comply with this can be prosecuted under California's Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law. Helping them avoid this will be the big mobile firms that will work with developers on ensuring compliance and act as vehicles for user complaints.

"California has a unique commitment to protecting the privacy of our residents. Our constitution directly guarantees a right to privacy, and we will defend it," added Harris. "Forging this common statement of mobile privacy principles shows the power of collaboration - among government, industry and consumers - to create solutions to problems no one group can tackle alone." µ


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