California’s Attorney General’s office announced today (via TheNextWeb) that Apple has agreed to disclose the privacy permissions for App Store apps before the app is purchased or downloaded in order to better protect user privacy.
“Your personal privacy should not be the cost of using mobile apps, but all too often it is,” said Attorney General Harris. “This agreement strengthens the privacy protections of California consumers and of millions of people around the globe who use mobile apps,” Attorney General Harris continued. “By ensuring that mobile apps have privacy policies, we create more transparency and give mobile users more informed control over who accesses their personal information and how it is used.”
Privacy issues have been a strong topic of discussion recently following the revelation that apps such as Path may be uploading information about the user’s contacts without the user’s explicit permission.
The decision will allow consumers to be much better informed of how each specific app is allowed to access or use their data, and should result in better mobile privacy overall.
One caution, however, is that users will need to read those privacy permissions, much like the terms and conditions of nearly any electronic product currently sold. Users that quickly tap, scroll through, or ignore such disclosures don’t have the right to complain about related privacy issues later.
It’s unclear exactly what Apple will implement in this regard, or when it will be added to iTunes and/or iOS, but it will be interesting to see what they come up with.