HP signs onto app privacy disclosure agreement | webOS Nation
 
 

HP signs onto app privacy disclosure agreement 5

by Derek Kessler Wed, 22 Feb 2012 5:47 pm EST

HP signs onto app privacy disclosure agreement

It didn't take long for the big privacy brouhaha to turn out some results, eh? Today the State of California announced that they have brokered an agreement with Amazon, Apple, Google, HP, Microsoft, and Research In Motion regarding the disclosure of privacy policies in mobile apps. The agreement is meant to allow customers to check out an app's privacy policy before downloading an app, and if the app doesn't comply with the stated privacy policy, the developer could be prosecuted under California law.

How exactly HP and the others will implement this policy is unclear at this point. While Google currently prompts an app buyer to confirm their agreement to privacy policies for individual apps (this app can access your contacts, photos, etc), the only exception that the webOS App Catalog currently calls out is for location services. The way the agreement is worded, HP, Apple, and the other companies not currently as aggressive in privacy clearance as Google would be able to provide a link to an app's privacy policy "in a consistent location" within the apps' store listing.

While HP hasn't had to endure as much of a media firestorm as Apple has with unintentional location tracking and most recently overlooked contacts uploading, customers should remain always vigilant. The problem is that vigilance with regards to app privacy is that how an app works behind the scenes is not a clear and understandable thing to most users. While plenty of outrage was directed at Apple and developers over the failure to disclose contact uploading, the "why" for these apps uploading contacts wasn't fully explored, nor the security of that information once it's in the developer's hands.

Either way, we're glad to see that this issue has been addressed, even if by just the state of California (as usual they've done their best to preempt the federal government while Congress dillies around with lawyer-driven hearings on the matter).

5 Comments

i don't think the contacts uploading was overlooked, i thought it was an actual developer API.

anyway, webOS's overboard logging hasn't really gotten a firestorm cause nobody knows what webOS is. Except this site of course xD

Developers actually can specify Terms of Use or something like that in the app submission portal, however the user doesn't have to agree to them or even has a way to find out about them.

@xandors09 lol ikr! Everytime someone asks what my phone is, I say "Its the Palm Pixi Plus" then they say "What is Palm? What is webOS?" lol

speaking of privacy check the article on tipb about how to clear your google history and stop them from saving your search history. http://www.imore.com/2012/02/22/delete-google-search-web-history/

This all sounds like a great step, but I just can't see _every_ developer following the rules. It would be nice to see some security tools like are available for Android made available for weboOS. On my Android devices, I use an app called LBE Privacy Guard that allows me to block permissions on a per app basis. This way I can get as granular as I need to. If an app has the access network permission, for example, if I don't want that app to be able to access the network, I can block access to wireless and / or WiFi individually.

Something like this for webOS would be so useful. It has a benefit of letting the _user_ whether or not to share info / access at a fine level and still be able to use the app normally. I've actually been surprised that, with most of my apps, I can block all the permissions for all apps and, with few exceptions, everything continues to work without a hitch.