Companies agree to app privacy rules

California settlement could change how app makers handle personal data

A recent settlement, reached between California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and six companies, may change the way app makers handle personal data as well as the way app users download their apps.

The six companies—Apple Inc., Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Research In Motion Ltd.—will require all apps to have privacy policies. The California law requires that any app that collects personal data must have a clear privacy policy that discloses what information it collects and what it will do with that information.

According to the agreement, the apps must give app users the opportunity to read the privacy policy before installing the app, and that policy must be easy to find on the application-download screen. App makers who don’t comply with the new law may be in violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law or False Advertising Law.

The new law is expected to benefit app users everywhere, not just those in California.

Read more about the new law.

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