Microsoft and others agree to improve mobile privacy

The companies behind today's mobile operating systems have now all agreed to improve privacy protections for mobile apps. In a press release from California's Attorney General, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Research in Motion, Amazon and HP have all agreed to offer privacy policies for apps that use personal information and that are sold on their operating systems.

This agreement follows a new law passed in California that requires all mobile apps that use personal information to have a privacy policy. California's Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said:

This agreement strengthens the privacy protections of California consumers and of millions of people around the globe who use mobile apps. 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.

The agreement makes app developers present a privacy policy to users before they can access a mobile app. Failure to have such a policy in place could result in those companies being prosecuted under California's Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law.

This new agreement follows word that some app developers have not been forthcoming in informing users about taking personal information. That includes Path, which admitted earlier this month it was taking iPhone address books via its app and storing them on their servers without telling users beforehand. Path has since apologized and has changed its app to inform users of such actions.

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