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TheStreet Open House

Consumer Watchdog Praises California AG's Mobile Apps Guidelines; Urges Recommendations Be Enacted Into Law To Fully Protect Consumers' Privacy





SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer Watchdog praised Attorney General Kamala D. Harris for releasing guidelines to protect privacy in the mobile ecosystem and said the key recommendations in her Privacy on the Go report released today should be enacted into law to fully protect consumers.

"This is an important step towards taming the Wild West in the mobile world," said John M. Simpson, Privacy Project Director for the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group. "Significant as it is, however, the key guidelines must be enacted into law with strong enforcement provisions. I call on the Legislature to follow Harris' lead and tackle the issue this term."

Read Privacy on the Go here: http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/pdfs/privacy/privacy_on_the_go.pdf

California is the first state to offer guidelines for the mobile ecosystem. Describing the guidelines Harris said:

"Californians want to know what personal information their apps collect, how it is used and with whom it is shared. To meet this need and keep pace with rapidly changing technology, these recommendations strike a responsible balance between protecting consumers' personal information and fostering the continued growth of the innovative app economy."

Consumer knowledge about what data is collected and how it is used is essential, Consumer Watchdog agreed, but consumers must also have control over whether it is gathered at all.

"We need a meaningful and enforceable Do Not Track mechanism in both the online and mobile worlds," said Simpson. "Establishing best practice guidelines is a start, but ultimately not enough to protect consumers. Without the stick of real enforcement, companies play fast and loose with the rules to fatten their profits."

Simpson noted that Harris effectively used strong enforcement last December when she sued Delta Airlines for failing to provide a privacy policy on its mobile app. "That certainly got the industry's attention," he said.

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