The Washington Post

California attorney general warns apps over user privacy

This post has been updated.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Tuesday that she has asked over 100 mobile app developers to post their privacy policies in a conspicuous place in the next 30 days.

In a release, Harris said that this is her office’s first step to enforce a California privacy law that requires companies with online services — including apps - to clearly post privacy policies for consumers.

The release said Harris will send letters to up to 100 “non-compliant apps” at a time, beginning with the most popular developers.

“Protecting the privacy of online consumers is a serious law enforcement matter,” Harris said in a statement. “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.”

The attorney general had previously come to an agreement with app platforms — including Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft — to let users review app privacy policies before they are downloaded. The platforms also agreed to put privacy policies in a consistent place to make it easier for consumers to find the guidelines.

Bloomberg reported that United Airlines, Delta Airlines and OpenTable are among the companies contacted by the attorney general’s office. The statement from Harris' office did not include the names of companies the office has contacted.

United said in a statement that it is taking steps to ensure its app is in line with California law and that its privacy policy is available on its Web site.

Delta said in a statement that company executives also have received the letter and “intend to provide the requested information.”

OpenTable could not immediately be reached to comment.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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