App privacy policies

Six largest mobile device companies to introduce privacy policys for apps

Six of the largest mobile device companies have agreed on app privacy policies.

The agreement, overseen by California's Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, could change how app makers handle personal data and the way millions of people download apps.

Ms Harris said Apple Inc., Google Inc., Inc., Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Research In Motion Ltd. agreed to begin requiring all apps offered through platforms to have privacy policies. Currently some 22 of the 30 most-downloaded apps don't have privacy policies.

"We have populations without knowledge of [mobile technology's] potential uses who are potentially vulnerable," said Ms Harris. "We seek to give them tools to protect themselves."

While the agreement specifically applies to enforcement of a 2004 California law requiring privacy policies, it will benefit "users everywhere", Ms Harris said.

The agreement requires app stores to enforce the requirement for privacy policies, but Ms Harris didn't set a specific timeline for when they would be required. She also said that her office would prosecute app makers that violate their privacy policies by taking or using consumer information in ways that run counter to their stated policies.

Apple and Google, makers of the two most popular mobile app stores, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Published by Herald Sun - February 23, 2012)

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