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Apple, Google and Microsoft Make Mobile Privacy Pledge

  |  February 23, 2012   |  Comments

Agreement driven forward by the U.S. but will have global impact

Six of the biggest mobile application providers, including Google, Apple, and Microsoft have agreed to improve privacy protections for their customers.

HP, Research In Motion (RIM) and Amazon also signed the agreement, which came after pressure from the U.S. justice system and California's attorney general, Kamala Harris.

The agreement will bring the mobile application market in line with California laws, and requires all applications that collect personal data to have a privacy policy, with the principles applying to customers across the globe.

"Your personal privacy should not be the cost of using mobile apps, but all too often it is," said Harris.

"This agreement strengthens the privacy protections of California consumers and of millions of people around the globe who use mobile apps."

Harris added that privacy policies will allow users to stay informed about who has access to their personal data and how it is used.

Mobile application providers can often access user data, such as location, contacts, messages and photos, according to the Attorney General. The privacy policy agreement will make this personal data they collect visible to customers.

Under the terms agreed by the companies, consumers will be given the opportunity to review an app's privacy policy before they download an app rather than after, and will be able to find the policy in a consistent location on the application-download screen.

The six companies have committed to educating application developers about their obligations to respect consumers.

If the companies fail to adhere to the agreement, the Attorney General said they can be prosecuted under California's Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law.

Users will soon be given tools to report non-compliant applications too.

This article was originally published on V3.

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