wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Business

DJIA
-0.10%
S&P 500
0.14%
NASDAQ
0.23%
 Last Update: 04:53 PM 04/18/2014

World Markets from      

 

Other Market Data from      

 

Key Rates from      

 

Blog Contributors

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Post Tech
About / Where's Post I.T.?   |    Twitter  |   On Facebook  |  RSS RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Cecilia
Posted at 04:24 PM ET, 02/22/2012

Apple, Google, Amazon agree to post mobile app privacy policies


A person tries a smartphone loaded with Google Wallet at the National Retail Federation, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 in New York. (Mark Lennihan - AP)
Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft on Thursday agreed to create standard privacy policies for the mobile apps they run, a sign of industry-led privacy efforts ahead of a White House effort to strengthen oversight of the Internet.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the agreement with the six major providers of mobile software platforms. She said the firms agreed to redesign their app stores — including iTunes and Android Marketplace — to clearly display privacy policies.

Companies have been eager to convince federal regulators that they can enforce their own rules to protect consumers and their privacy on the Internet. The Commerce Department on Friday will unveil a report with recommendations for federal oversight of online privacy.

Under the agreement announced Wednesday, apps developers must also draw up their own privacy policies and prominently display them. Harris said in a press conference that 22 of the top 30 apps lack privacy policies.

“Your personal privacy should not be at the cost of using mobile apps, but too often it is,” said Harris, who said she will meet with the major companies in six months to check on their progress. She did not give a specific time frame for when new privacy disclosures will show up in app stores.

Harris’s announcement comes after the discovery that online social journal Path was scooping up the contact lists of its iPhone app users. Lawmakers expressed concern that Path and other mobile apps were uploading the contact lists on the device without consumers understanding that was happening.

If an app developer fails to follow the new guidelines, Harris said the state will sue the companies under California's Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law.

The Federal Trade Commission last week said apps aimed at children almost never have privacy policies that would inform parents about the data collection practices of software developers.

Related:

Apps for kids get poor grades for privacy

Topolsky: Path privacy controversy a wake up call

Google pulls cookies that track users through Safari

By  |  04:24 PM ET, 02/22/2012

Tags:  Online privacy, California, Mobile apps

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company