On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, California’s Attorney General, along with the six leading mobile application platform developers, released a “Joint Statement of Principles” pertaining to privacy in the mobile space. The Joint Statement, adopted by Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and RIM, espoused four core principles of mobile privacy. While the Joint Statement does not take the form of a binding agreement and purports to impose no obligations on the platform developers beyond those already imposed by law, it is anticipated that these privacy principles will soon be adopted in full, amongst the six major platforms and beyond:
- Platform developers will each implement a method for application users to report to the platform developers any non-compliance by apps with their stated privacy policies, terms of service, or other applicable laws.
- Platform developers will each implement a process for responding to reported instances of application developers’ non-compliance with privacy policies and/or applicable law.
The platform developers additionally agreed in the Joint Statement to continue to work the Attorney General toward developing best practices for protecting consumer privacy in the mobile application space and beyond. The group will convene again with the Attorney General within six months to continue their evaluation and assess progress in the industry.
Within hours of the release of the California Attorney General’s Joint Statement, the White House outlined its proposed “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” in a new report entitled “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Economy.” Amongst the many topics covered by the White House’s lengthy report is consumer privacy in the mobile space.