California begins crackdown on mobile app developers
Protect user privacy or face the courts
In the next few weeks, up to 100 mobile application developers will be getting a letter from California's government ordering them to install privacy protection warnings on their apps or face the legal consequences.
"Protecting the privacy of online consumers is a serious law enforcement matter," Harris announced. "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." In February, Harris announced she had worked out a deal on the issue with Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and RIM, but now she's going after the rest of the industry. This current batch of letters is aimed further down the stack, with airlines United and Delta confirmed to be on Harris' little list of miscreants along with smaller application developers like dining reservations site OpenTable.
Study after study has shown that these kinds of privacy policies and T&Cs screens are almost entirely ignored by users. You could stick a paragraph in there about users having to sacrifice their first-born to a graven image of Baal and virtually no-one would notice.
Still and all, California's precious little snowflakes apparently need some protection, so developers should expect to get a little extra work shortly. ®
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