HP signs onto app privacy disclosure agreement | webOS Nation

HP signs onto app privacy disclosure agreement

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).