Earlier this week the Office of the Attorney General for the
State of California announced an agreement with leading operators of app
platforms to implement privacy principles in the app ecosystem.
These principles would require mobile app privacy policies or
statements to be presented to the consumer in a consistent way
prior to the downloading of the app and would require app stores to
create a complaints process.
The California agreement was overshadowed in the press by the
White House's announcement of a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights
and the release of its report entitled "Consumer Data Privacy
in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and
Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy," which I
previously blogged about. However, the California
agreement could result in significant changes to the way in which
privacy policies are presented in the app ecosystem and the ability
of consumers to navigate those data privacy policies and complain
about privacy practices of apps.
The California Attorney General stated that the majority of
would bring the industry in line with California law. The Attorney
General cited the California Online Privacy Protection Act
("OPPA") which states that "[a]n operator of a
commercial web site or online service that collects personally
identifiable information through the Internet about individual
consumers residing in California who use or visit its commercial
web site or online service shall conspicuously post its privacy
policy on its Web site, or in the case of an operator of an online
service, make that policy available" in accordance with the
provisions of OPPA. The California Attorney General's position
regarding apps at the point of download.
The agreement sets out five principles:
practices must be conspicuous posted. The policy or statement must
describe how personal data is collected, used and shared.
New and updated apps must have either (a) an optional data
must be available from the apps store.
Apps stores must have provide consumers with a means to report
apps that do not comply with applicable terms of service and/or
Apps stores must develop and implement a process for responding
to reported instances of non-compliance with applicable terms of
service and/or laws.
Within six months, the operators of apps platforms will
reconvene to evaluate privacy in the mobile space, including the
utility of education programs regarding mobile privacy.
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