Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Hewlett-Packard signed a privacy agreement that requires each company and its developers to disclose how they will use private data before an app is installed on a device. This agreement is the result of six months of talks between these leading tech companies and California Attorney General Kamal Harris.
Harris pushed for stronger privacy requirements on mobile devices and said at a San Francisco press conference that “Most mobile apps make no effort to inform users about how personal information is used. The consumer should be informed of what they are giving up.” Harris will monitor these companies for compliance with these new rules and told Reuters the state has the right to sue if they don’t act in good faith.
This new privacy requirement comes hot on the heels of a major faux pas by Path, a new social network with apps for iOS and Android. Path was caught uploading address book information to its servers without the consent of users. The company explained it was doing this to help its users locate friends and was not using this information for malicious reasons. Path issued and apology and ceased the practice when the tech world jumped on this story.
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