Mobile app developers get privacy data warning
Apple and Facebook avoid trouble but California notice is sign of things to come
By John Ribeiro | Published: 10:10, 31 October 2012
Notices will be sent out to developers of up to 100 mobile apps that are not compliant with California privacy law, starting with those who have the most popular apps available on mobile platforms, the office of the state's attorney general Kamala D. Harris has said.
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An operator of a mobile app that uses the Internet to collect personally identifiable information is an online service within the meaning of the Act, according to a sample copy of the letter.
Failure to comply can lead to a fine of up to US$2,500 each time a non-compliant app is downloaded.
Harris arrived at an agreement in February committing leading operators of mobile application platforms to improve privacy protections on apps. Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research In Motion agreed to ensure that mobile apps comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act, including by providing a mechanism for users to report apps that are not in compliance with applicable terms of service and the laws.
The addition of Facebook in June to the list of companies to sign the agreement, extended privacy protections to include social apps in Facebook's App Center.
The state has taken a tough stand on online privacy, setting up a Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit within the state's justice department earlier this year. The California Online Privacy Protection Act is one of the privacy laws that the unit is charged with enforcing.