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Tech Giants Agree to Deal on Privacy Policies For Apps

By Wall Street Journal

February 24, 2012

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California attorney general Kamala D. Harris reached an agreement with major mobile-device companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Research In Motion, which could change how application makers handle personal data.

The companies agreed that California law requires apps to have privacy policies, and that they would begin asking app developers who collect personal information to include them. "We have populations without knowledge of [mobile technology's] potential uses who are potentially vulnerable," Harris says.

She notes that many of the most downloaded apps lack privacy policies. The state will be responsible for enforcing the law, but the companies agreed to help educate developers about their legal obligations. Harris says the companies are participating voluntarily and in good faith. Requiring privacy policies would force app developers to consider the information they require from consumers and why.

A study of 101 popular apps found that 56 of them transmitted the phone's unique device ID to other companies without users' knowledge or consent.

From Wall Street Journal 
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