Apple, Google, RIM, and Others Reach Agreement on Increasing App Privacy

Recently app privacy has blasted into the media spotlight, especially when it was discovered that Path uploaded all of your contact info to their servers without you knowing. Now, it appears a step has headed in the right direction as Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft, Amazon, and HP have all come on board to an agreement to make app privacy better. The announcement was made by Kamala D. Harris, the attorney general in California:

California’s attorney general, Kamala D. Harris, said on Wednesday that the state had reached an agreement with, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research in Motion to strengthen privacy protections for smartphone owners who download mobile applications.

The agreement will force developers to post conspicuous privacy policies detailing what personal information they plan to obtain and how they will use it. It also compels app store providers like Apple and Google to offer ways for users to report apps that do not comply. The attorney general’s office said developers who did not abide by their own privacy policies would face prosecution under California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law.

Apple recently released a statement an upcoming version of iOS will include updates to explicitly ask for user permission should apps want access to your contacts. It’s great to see all of these companies join together and push for change, but executing the agreement is another story. We’ll have to wait and see.

[via NYT]

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