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California attorney general sends privacy warnings to app makers (thehill.com)
23 points by susanhi 1850 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

We can always count on California government officials to intrude on technologies they know nothing about.

This is nothing more than a quest for cheap publicity and endorsement of various pressure groups, which promote the self-interests of their funders and staffers under the guise of the "public interest". What they really want is regulation that would let them profit from shakedown lawsuits.

These sorts of assaults on product development freedom need to be nipped in the bud.

Really? What technology is being misunderstood here? As far as I can tell, the AG is mandating that mobile apps include privacy policies detailing how they gather and collect user information. Given the large number of stories about apps sending user data to 3rd parties or using it for things other than a user may expect/desire that have come out over the past few years, this doesn't seem particularly unreasonable. Now, you may disagree that mobile app developers should be required to post these policies, but I don't see how such a position reflects a misunderstanding of the technologies at play.

I'm also hard pressed to imagine how this is an "assault on product development freedom." If you don't gather any data, it's not too tough to state somewhere "hey, just wanted to let you know that this app respects your privacy and does not collect any usage data or personal information." If your app does gather data, I think it's pretty reasonable to ask for a basic privacy policy to be posted. I, for one, would prefer that mobile apps that send PII be required to explain what and why.

Overall this looks like a reasonable extension of existing laws to include new technologies that have come to prominence in the last few years. Do you think the existing law requiring online services to post privacy policies is an assault on product development freedom? Or is it only because they are extending this to mobile that you are losing your freedom to create software products?

It's only an assault on those individuals and organizations that want to infringe on users privacy. I see absolutely nothing wrong with keeping the general public informed (mandatory) from predatory actions.

The law itself has been around for eight years, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Online_Privacy_Prote..., and involves information that "includes first and last names, a street address, an email address, a telephone number, a social security number, or various other data which allows the tracking of a user. Personally identifiable information can include date of birth, height, weight, etc, when this information is recorded and stored online by the operator in combination with one of the above identifiers. "

All that the AG is asking is that there be a clear link to a privacy policy for those apps that collect this type of information detailing how they collect and handle this personal data. Seems reasonable to me.

>We can always count on California government officials to intrude on technologies they know nothing about.

And for some reason the AG is always the worst of the bunch. I guess because it's an elected office that puts you in pole position for the governor's chair.

She's enforcing a fairly long-standing California law, now proposing a new one. Kamala Harris is not my favorite politician but she is very savvy. This is not a matter of lawyers knowing nothing about technology, it's a matter of corporations ignoring the law on privacy, which is not a technological issue.

There are thousands of laws on the books that never get enforced. Some of them are just funny, like the ones you see on the internet that forbid, you know, women from driving in a house coat. Some of them get ignored for good reasons, though, until you get a climber in the AG's position.

I live in California and I like my privacy, as well as having the right to know what information a business maintains on file about me. I supported this law when it was passed and see no reason why mobile apps should be exempted from it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Shine_the_Light_law

Perhaps you'd care to list these pressure groups?

Hey, look! Someone holding people responsible for their actions/products! Now how controversial is that?!

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