On February 22, six leading operators of mobile application platforms (Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research In Motion) signed an agreement with California Attorney General Kamala Harris committing to improve privacy protections offered to consumers that access the Internet through apps on their mobile devices and tablets.
Attorney General Harris emphasized the importance of the agreement given that 22 of the 30 most downloaded apps do not currently have privacy policies. She also noted that more than 50,000 developers have made apps available through the major platforms, resulting in nearly 600,000 apps for sale in the Apple App Store, and another 400,000 for sale in Google’s Android Market. The apps have been downloaded more than 35 billion times, and these numbers are expected to grow.
- Implement a means for users to report to the mobile platform companies the apps that do not comply with applicable terms of service and/or laws.
- Implement a process for responding to reported instances of non-compliance with applicable terms of service and/or laws.
- Continue to work with the California Attorney General to develop best practices for mobile privacy in general and mobile privacy policies in particular.
If app developers do not comply with their posted privacy policies, they can be prosecuted under California’s Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law. Within six months, Attorney General Harris will convene interested stakeholders to evaluate privacy in the mobile space, including whether educational programs regarding mobile privacy should be introduced.