January 10, 2013 – California Attorney General Kamala Harris today issued “Privacy on The Go: Recommendations For The Mobile Ecosystem,” the goal of which is to provide mobile app developers and other parties with guidance for considering privacy early in the app development process.
In each instance, the guidance recommends that such alerts should be provided “in context, in many cases just before the specific data are to be collected,” and the app should explain the intended uses, identify any third parties who may receive the data, and obtain the user’s affirmative (opt-in) consent before the data is collected and used by an app.
In response to the release, a group of Internet marketing and advertising trade associations co-signed a letter to the California Attorney General outlining their “significant concerns” with the newly released recommendations. The letter faults the AG for stating that the recommendations were based on prior consultations with a “broad spectrum” of stakeholders, which did not include their associations or “thousands of member companies” that reflect the industry perspective. “As a result,” states the letter, “industries involved in retail, banking, advertising, insurance, travel, gaming, entertainment and media are only now beginning to learn that these guidelines have even been drafted.”
The letter also notes that industry has been working to address mobile data practices at the federal level with the Department of Commerce, whose National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has hosted an open multistakeholder process including extensive public notice and comment periods. In addition to the potential confusion California’s release will cause, the industry letter argues that the AG’s “recommendations extend far beyond existing legal requirements under California law” and that, “if implemented, will chill innovation in the marketplace, cost jobs, harm California’s economy, and deprive consumers of the benefits of mobile applications, products, and services.”