California Warns App Makers Ignoring New Privacy Law

Josh WolfordIT Management

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The state of California is getting tough with "scores" of app developers by shipping out non-compliance notifications to many companies that are reportedly in violation of state privacy law.

Back in February, the Attorney General's office announced a new initiative for mobile apps that was designed to bolster the California Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The new act required that operators of web sites and "online services" who routinely collect personal info from consumers provide a "conspicuous" privacy policy alongside their apps. The AG's office also said that the plan "further commits the platforms to educate developers about their obligations to respect consumer privacy and to disclose to consumers what private information they collect, how they use the information, and with whom they share it."

From the start, Amazon, Apple, Google, HP, Microsoft, and RIM were on board. In June, Facebook finally followed suit.

And today, the AG's office is beginning to formally notify companies that they feel are not in compliance with the new mandate. According to a release, these companies will be given 30 days to post a "conspicuous" privacy policy within their app. If they still fail to comply, they could face a fine of up to $2,500 every time their app is downloaded without said "conspicuous" privacy policy.

All of this will presumably be enforced by the newly created "Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit" inside the California DOJ.

“Protecting the privacy of online consumers is a serious law enforcement matter,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “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.”

Although AG Harris said that they would be sending non-compliance notifications to up to 100 app-makers, she didn't disclose any specific offenders. According to Bloomberg, United, Delta, and OpenTable are among to companies being scolded by the AG.

As of now, California is the only state to have such stringent requirements for mobile app privacy policies.

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf