Mobile App Providers Warned — Post Privacy Policies

By Jennifer Kashatus

The California Attorney General has made good on her promise to apply the state’s privacy laws to mobile app providers.  Under the California Online Privacy Protection Act, operators of commercial websites and online services that collect personal information are required to conspicuously post privacy policies.  Attorney General Kamala Harris has stated that the law also applies to mobile app providers, and that mobile app providers not only must make available a privacy policy for consumers, but that the consumers must be presented with the opportunity to view the privacy policy before downloading the app.

On October 30, Attorney General Harris announced that her office would be sending letters to approximately 100 mobile app providers alleging that the app providers were in violation of the law by not making available a privacy policy before the consumer downloaded the app.  If the apps do not post a privacy policy within 30 days, they could face fines of up to $2500 each time the app is downloaded.

The California Attorney General’s latest action is consistent with the Federal Trade Commission’s recent focus on activities of mobile app providers.  In September, we commented on the FTC’s recent guidance to assist mobile app providers with privacy compliance.  California’s recent action makes clear that mobile app providers should ensure that their privacy practices are in place.