CALIFORNIA IN PRIVACY PROTECTION AGREEMENT WITH FACEBOOK

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by the Office of California Attorney General Kamala D.
Harris and received via electronic mail. The release was
confirmed by the sender.) 
June 22, 2012 
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Expansion of
California’s Consumer Privacy Protections to Social Apps as
Facebook Signs Apps Agreement 
SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today
announced that Facebook has become the seventh company to sign
the Joint Statement of Principles to strengthen privacy
protections for consumers around the world who use online
applications on their smartphones, tablets and other electronic
devices. The agreement extends the reach of California’s privacy
protections beyond mobile apps to include social apps in
Facebook’s App Center, which are used daily by millions of
consumers. Among other protections, the agreement seeks to
improve compliance with California law requiring apps that
collect personal information to have a privacy policy. 
“Consumers deserve to be able to make informed choices about how
much personal information they want to share with others when
using social apps,” said Attorney General Harris. “We are
delighted that Facebook has joined Amazon, Apple, Google,
Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research in Motion to provide
consumers with greater control and information about how their
personal data is used.  We need to protect privacy while we
foster innovation.” 
In a letter to Attorney General Harris released today, Facebook
wrote “…we hope that you will consider us a signatory to the
Joint Statement.” Facebook joins an agreement that was first
announced in February when Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Google
Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Microsoft Corporation, and
Research in Motion Limited all signed on to a Joint Statement of
Principles. 
In the letter, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Erin M. Egan
wrote, “As you know, the Joint Statement’s principles embodied
essential protections for Californians and others who use mobile
apps by encouraging companies that provide mobile app markets to
give developers the ability to provide a link to their privacy
policies and to display those links along with other app
details….As we built the App Center, we were guided by the
principles contained in the Joint Statement.” 
Starting in 2011, Attorney General Harris worked with Amazon,
Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research In
Motion to forge the Joint Statement to ensure that emerging
online technologies such as mobile apps comply with California’s
Online Privacy Protection Act (Simitian, 2004).  The Act
requires operators of commercial web sites and online services,
including mobile and social apps, who collect personally
identifiable information about Californians to conspicuously
post a privacy policy.  The posting of a privacy policy promotes
transparency and provides consumers with more informed control
over their personal information. Today’s agreement recognizes
the Facebook App Center’s role as a clearinghouse for a variety
of social apps. 
A letter from the Attorney General’s Office to Facebook said,
“California law requires all operators of commercial web sites
and online services, including mobile and social apps, who
collect personally identifiable information about Californians
to conspicuously post a privacy policy.  We are very pleased
that Facebook has incorporated the Principles into the design of
the App Center and that Facebook requires, as a condition of
participating in the App Center, that developers submit a link
to a privacy policy.  We are also pleased to see that Facebook
is prominently displaying the link to an app’s privacy policy in
the App Center, and is implementing a means to report and
remediate privacy issues.” 
In addition to signing the Joint Statement, Facebook will
participate in a multi-stakeholder Advisory Group on Mobile
Privacy Practices that the Attorney General’s Office and the
California Office of Privacy Protection have convened to develop
best practices for mobile privacy generally and to develop model
mobile privacy policies in particular. 
Copies of both letters are attached to the electronic version of
this release at: http://oag.ca.gov/news 
The February 2012 press release announcing the apps agreement
can be found here: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-secures-global-agreement-strengthen-privacy 
(bjh) NY 
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