Now Apple And Others Must Give App Privacy Details Before You Download

Privacy protection

We reported earlier that according to a research App Store apps would seek (possibly leak) more privacy details of users than the jailbreak apps. The research was conducted in the wake of Path scandal of user data being stored by Path and uploaded without user’s consent.

Path had sparked a huge controversy over user privacy violations in popular App Store apps. The outcry and criticism from media resulted in a new order from The California Attorney General to enforce new standards for informing users about app privacy policies.

Now Apple, Google, Microsoft, HP, Amazon and RIM will have to implement new policies that developers must comply with when the apps are published online. All information that is collected from the user will be outlined in the app’s privacy policy and it must be made viewable in the app stores before the download of the app.

This agreement will allow consumers the opportunity to review an app’s privacy policy before they download the app rather than after, and will offer consumers a consistent location for an app’s privacy policy on the application-download screen. If developers do not comply with their stated privacy policies, they can be prosecuted under California’s Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law.

The agreement further commits the platforms to educate developers about their obligations to respect consumer privacy and to disclose to consumers what private information they collect, how they use the information, and with whom they share it. The platforms will also work to improve compliance with privacy laws by giving users tools to report non-compliant apps and committing companies to implement processes to respond to these reports.

In the near future you will be able to easily view any app’s privacy policy before you download it. Any developer refusing to comply with the policy can be charged under California law. “By ensuring that mobile apps have privacy policies, we create more transparency and give mobile users more informed control over who accesses their personal information and how it is used,” said the Attorney General.

According to the results of the recent research, Apple’s App Store is actually one of the worst platforms for displaying an app’s privacy permissions plainly. The Android Market and other popular apps stores display app permissions more visibly (comparing with Apple’s app store). However, it is nearly impossible to find privacy information in the App Store before actually installing an app.

We hope that the new ruling from The California Attorney General will spur all technology companies and developers alike to be more transparent about disclosing privacy information.

Source: Cult Of Mac

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