California Cracking Down on Mobile Privacy Violators

Nov 1, 2012 16:30:14Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

California Cracking Down on Mobile Privacy Violators

One of California's top lawyers is very serious about protecting mobile privacy. Earlier this week, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris sent out letters to many mobile app creators, warning them that they had 30 days to comply with the California Online Privacy Protection act or else face legal action.

App creators must "conspicuously post" a privacy policy informing users of what type of data the program may be collecting, and what the app plans to do with private and personal information. So far, Harris has sent out letters to as many as 100 companies that have failed to do so, beginning with the most popular applications.

"Protecting the privacy of online consumers is a serious law enforcement matter," Harris said in a statement. "We have worked hard to ensure that app developers are aware of their legal obligations to respect the privacy of Californians, but it is critical that we take all necessary steps to enforce California's privacy laws."

Companies that fail to meet the state's standards will face fines of up to $2,500 for each time a non-compliant app is downloaded.

United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and OpenTable Inc. were among the companies that received letters, reports Business Week. Spokespersons for both Delta and United told the news source that the companies will respond to Harris' letter by posting privacy policies letting smart phone users know how their mobile identity information is being used.

Several big companies, including Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion, are working with Harris to encourage more app creators to align their policies with those outlined in the Protection Act. The mandate extends not to just smart phones, but tablets and any other mobile device that functions with apps.