California pushes mobile app privacy policy guidelines

by Trevor Bennett 705 views0

Normally in a constant competition with each other, Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research In Motion came together in collaboration to forge a new mobile privacy policy.

In attempts to bring these six companies in compliance with California state law’s California Online Privacy Protection Act, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced Wednesday an agreement that will effect the submission and downloading process that all applications (“apps”) will be required to follow. The Privacy Act requires operators of commercial web sites and online services, including mobile apps, who collect personally information about Californians to post a privacy policy.

“California has a unique commitment to protecting the privacy of our residents. Our constitution directly guarantees a right to privacy,” Harris said. “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.”

Not only are developers obligated to disclose what information they will collect from  consumers, but also how those companies  plan to use and who they plan to share it with will become available.

The policy will provide consumers the opportunity to review an app’s privacy policy before it’s downloaded.  If developers do not comply with their stated privacy policies, they can be prosecuted under California’s Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law. The Android Market is currently the only apps market to allow user to flag and report suspicious apps.

This agreement will work to improve the privacy laws and give users the ability to report non-compliance apps on all app markets.

With over 35 billion app downloads and 1 million apps in the Apple App store and Google’s Android Market, many experts believe the necessity for mobile privacy is needed now more than ever. Estimated to rise to over 98 billion downloads by 2015 with every company pushing to be online, the market revenue for mobile apps is expected to grow from the current $6.8 billion to $25 billion over the next four years.