California's AG Puts Mobile Apps On Notice

Author:Mr Jake Romero
Profession:Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

If a haunted house or trick-or-treating was your scariest experience last week, you must not be one of the 100 mobile application developers who received a notice of non-compliance from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.On October 30, Attorney General Harris's office announced that letters had been sent to the developers of dozens of the most popular mobile applications warning in each case that the developer's application is not in compliance with California's Online Privacy Protection Act ("CalOPPA") because it fails to have a privacy policy reasonably accessible to consumers .The letters give the developer 30 days to respond by providing either specific plans to bring the application into compliance or an explanation regarding why the developer believes that the application is not covered by CalOPPA.

As noted in the non-compliance notice letters, the potential cost to mobile application developers of not meeting the CalOPPA requirements can be substantial.Violations of CalOPPA may result in penalties of up to $2,500 per violation which, for mobile applications, means up to $2,500 for each copy of the non-compliant application that is downloaded by California consumers.Since Attorney General Harris has started by targeting the most popular non-compliant applications, including, reportedly, the mobile applications of Delta Airlines, United Continental Holdings and OpenTable , the penalties assessed could potentially be substantial.

As we have previously discussed on this blog, CalOPPA requires that "an operator of a commercial Web site or online service that collects personally identifiable information through the Internet about individual consumers residing in California who use or visit its commercial Web site or online service" conspicuously post a privacy policy that meets the requirements of California Business and Professions Code § 22575(a) and (b).In the past...

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