Mobile app privacy policyThe Attorney General of California, Kamala D. Harris, has issued a report containing suggested privacy practices for use in the arena of mobile apps.

The January 10 PDF report is titled “Privacy on the Go: Recommendations for the Mobile Ecosystem” and is posted on California’s Office of the Attorney General’s website. It follows up on an agreement Harris made with seven leading mobile and social app platforms in 2012 to display app privacy policies. The agreement was made with Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, and Research In Motion, according to a press release.

“It is my hope that our recommendations along with continued private-public collaborations will contribute to improving privacy practices in the mobile marketplace,” she said in an introduction to the report.

For app developers, Harris recommended starting by reviewing the personal data one’s app could collect and opting to avoid collecting data not necessary for the app’s basic functionality. She also encouraged the creation of a “clear, accurate, and conspicuously accessible” privacy policy that draws users’ attention to any unusual conditions.

For app platform providers – the likes of Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play for Android – she suggested that privacy policies be available before one downloads an app, and that the platform itself be used to educate users about mobile privacy.

Harris advised mobile ad networks to not only have their own privacy policy, but also to only serve ads within apps, rather than intruding onto the mobile desktop. She also asked that they not use device-specific tracking identifiers.

For operating system developers, Harris recommended the development of global privacy settings that would allow users to control what apps could access from a central place. She also urged mobile carriers to educate their customers about mobile privacy.

As pointed out by the Los Angeles Times, the report does not make new rules or constrain app developers legally. The recommendations are not enforceable by law.

Tags: mobile app privacy guidelines, recommendations for the mobile ecosystem, mobile and social app platforms, app functionality, app platform providers, mobile app platforms