SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Soon you’ll be seeing privacy notices popping up on your mobile applications.
More than 1,600 new mobile apps are being introduced every day and whether they are subject to the same privacy laws that govern regular online activity, and what app makers have to do to comply with the law, has been a legal gray area for years.
Now, as a “policy statement” the document isn’t the same thing as a law – which the Attorney General can’t create – but it does give some insight as to how the AG’s office will interpret the California’s Online Privacy Protection Act – namely, what will be expected from mobile apps.
This is not the first time the Attorney General has taken aim at this issue. In 2012, she created the Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit to focus on all kinds of privacy issues.
So, think of the new policy guidance as roadmap of how to avoid getting sued by the Attorney General.
The practical effect of enacting these policies is that, for the purposes of privacy, apps will look more like websites in that you’ll see and probably ignore the privacy protection legalese. I mean, who really reads the terms and conditions on the iTunes store? You hit ‘Accept’ and move on with your day. So, probably little substantive change for most users, but for those who are really careful about online information sharing, this will help provide more notice.
While the report states that it is the result of “consulting a broad spectrum of stakeholders,” at least one group, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has criticized the policies, issuing a statement saying, “We are disappointed that the California Attorney General would finalize a recommendation on such an important issue based on such limited engagement with the companies that will be expected to put them into practice.”
But on the bright side, it might be a boost for the market for privacy apps.
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