Like other software application platforms before it, Facebook has signed on to a deal with California requiring its mobile software application developers to provide users with conspicuous links to posted privacy policies if their software applications gather personal data from users. California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently announced the agreement, which was originally secured in February 2012 with other large technology companies. The agreement also requires signatories to provide users with an easy mechanism for reporting developers who do not post privacy policies or who are in violation of posted privacy policies.
As noted previously, Harris reportedly takes the position that mobile software application developers are bound by California’s 2004 Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires the posting of privacy policies by companies that collect personally identifiable information, such as names, phone numbers, email addresses or similar data from California residents.
It appears that the federal government may be following California’s lead in the area of mobile software consumer privacy, as news of Facebook joining this agreement comes at around the same time as the Commerce Department’s announcement that it will begin holding meetings in July aiming "to develop a code of conduct to provide transparency in how companies providing applications and interactive services for mobile devices handle personal data," according to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU? If your company provides mobile software applications, we suggest that you consider the following steps: