Court Dismisses California AG’s First Suit Against Mobile Application Provider Under Online Privacy Protection Act

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On May 9, the Superior Court of California dismissed California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ first suit against a company for allegedly failing to comply with the state’s Online Privacy Protection Act. California v. Delta Air Lines Inc., No. 12-526741, Order (Cal. Sup. Ct. May 9, 2013). The state alleged that since at least 2010, Delta Airlines operated a mobile application that allows customers to, for example, check-in online for an airplane flight, view reservations for air travel, or rebook cancelled or missed flights. The AG claimed that the Delta application collects substantial personally identifiable information without providing a privacy policy. The suit sought an injunction and penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation. Reportedly, the court determined that the suit was preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act, which prohibits states from regulating certain airline functions, including, according to Delta and the court, the mobile application at issue in this case. The suit against Delta was filed after the AG sent letters to Delta and numerous other mobile application developers and providers advising those entities of their alleged noncompliance with state privacy law, and forms part of a broader enforcement effort by the AG with regard to online and mobile privacy.