CA Attorney General Issues Mobile App Privacy Warning

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California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris this week began notifying dozens of mobile app developers of their failure to comply with California privacy law.

"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."

"She began Oct. 29 formally notifying violators of the state's privacy law, giving them 30 days to conspicuously post a privacy policy within their app, according to an Oct. 30 statement," writes FierceGovernmentIT's Molly Bernhart Walker. "The policy must state what personally-identifiable information is collected through the app and how it is used. ... In the first round of mailings, the state will send notices to up to 100 non-compliant apps, starting with the most downloaded."

"A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office identified United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Open Table as three of the most popular app makers that received the warnings. ... The California Online Privacy Protection Act requires online services that collect personal information from Californians to conspicuously post a privacy policy," writes The Hill's Brendan Sasso.

"California is the only state to require privacy policies for mobile applications as well as websites, Chris Conley, a technology lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco, said in a phone interview," write Bloomberg's Joel Rosenblatt and Douglas MacMillan. "Consumers are becoming more aware of which apps collect personal information, he said. 'As people become more concerned about how much information is on a smartphone -- about their location, about their contacts, about their shopping -- I think people will pay more attention to applications' policies in terms of what they collect, how they use it, what they retain and how they share this data,' Conley said."

"If the 100 companies on Harris' list don't post a privacy policy notice on their app within the next 30 days, they could face fines of up to $2,500 every time their app is downloaded," writes CNET News' Dara Kerr.