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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris  (Source: lagunajournal.com)
Google, Amazon, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research-In-Motion are the companies that agreed to the global privacy policy for mobile app users

The state of California just upped its commitment to mobile Internet privacy in regards to applications via a new agreement that improves current privacy protections.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris of the State of California Department of Justice announced today that six of the largest tech companies associated with the mobile apps market agreed to a California law that forces apps that collect personal information to have a privacy policy. 

Google, Amazon, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research-In-Motion are the six major companies that agreed to the addition of a global privacy policy for mobile app users. The new agreement will allow customers to review the privacy policy of an app before they even download it. Customers will also be able to report apps that do not comply with the new agreement.

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

"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. 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."

Mobile apps have become an every day part of life for most smartphone users. Currently, there are 600,000 apps in Apple's App Store, 400,000 apps in Google's Android Market, and these apps have been downloaded over 35 billion times. However, many of these apps do not provide suitable privacy transparency to users.

Just last year, lawmakers investigated the collection, use and storage of consumer location data from four U.S. wireless carriers. They determined that mobile privacy safeguards should be applied to third-party app developers as well after discovering that location data was captured on certain phones. 

Phonemakers have been caught tracking user locations without consent. For instance, Microsoft was sued last September for allegedly tracking user locations without consent in Windows Phone 7. Last April, Apple was tracking the location's of iPhone and iPad users and Android phones were found to be mining personal data as well.

The new California agreement aims to educate app developers and get them on the bandwagon with respecting user privacy. If any developer fails to comply, they can be prosecuted under the Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law in California.

Source: State of California Departmet of Justice



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Where is Facebook?
By rsmech on 2/22/2012 11:01:44 PM , Rating: 3
I guess it's not good for business. Facebook is just adware/spyware we hate bundled differently. I guess if you do put lipstick on a pig maybe it isn't a pig anymore, or is it?




RE: Where is Facebook?
By Spuke on 2/23/2012 12:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
Forget that, the state AG is hot! Why didn't anyone tell me this before?


RE: Where is Facebook?
By amanojaku on 2/23/2012 9:35:19 AM , Rating: 2
So, you wouldn't mind if she got up against the wall and spread 'em?


Sure
By kjboughton on 2/23/2012 1:00:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
California has a unique commitment to protecting the privacy of our residents.


Ha!

The irony!




RE: Sure
By TSS on 2/23/2012 6:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing this law is going to change is that you now will have to click that "accept" button alot more.

So your information "may be used for, but not limited to" selling it for huge amounts of profits.

I hate to be a negative nancy because it looks like that attorney's doing a good job. But i'm afraid she won't be able to make meaningfull changes.

As long as i can't use the damn software when i click "disagree", nothing changes. When they get the companies to split up their policy agreements, so that if you don't agree to tracking it turns off tracking features, but the software still runs, that's when we'll talk privacy.

As it stands i can't even read the agreements. My english might be fine but my lawyerish is a bit rusty.


Good...
By Adam M on 2/23/2012 8:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
I read an article the other day that offered some nice information about the kind of data apps collect and which apps are the worst offenders. A lot of what I found was expected. I am not surprised when a free app bombards me with advertisements all the while collecting and selling my data. The Android app store lists permissions the apps wish to access, but stops there. Few of these apps, if any, disclose what they want those permissions for or what they will do with that data. This is the kind of information that should be clearly marked, up front and before the download.




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