In last month’s Technology Advisory, I described recent actions of the California Attorney General designed to improve privacy protections for users of mobile applications. This included an agreement the California Attorney General (CAG) reached with the companies whose platforms comprise the majority of the mobile app market (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research In Motion) on a set of principles intended to ensure that mobile apps comply with applicable privacy laws such as the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA), formation of the California Attorney General’s Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit (the CAG’s Privacy Unit) and enforcement against mobile app makers of CalOPPA’s requirement that “online services” have privacy policies accessible to users.
California’s Recommendations for the Industry -
As part of this ongoing administrative effort, the CAG’s Privacy Unit has now prepared Privacy on the Go: Recommendations for the Mobile Ecosystem, which stands as a formulation of “best practices” for the industry. As its name suggests, it encompasses recommendations for the entire “ecosystem”—from the app platforms and app developers to mobile ad networks, operating system developers and even mobile carriers.
The CAG’s Privacy Unit sees its mission as supporting the right of privacy included in the California Constitution. However, they also attempt to buttress their efforts with a “pro-business” rationale, pointing to a recent study finding that more than half of mobile app users had uninstalled or decided not to install an app because of concerns about its privacy practices.
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