Facebook to require privacy policies in mobile apps

It's one small step for individual autonomy, as the social network brings its app ecosystem into compliance with a user-privacy effort spearheaded by the California attorney general.

Elinor Mills
Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
2 min read

Facebook will require developers to include privacy policies in apps used by mobile users on the social network. The move is part of an effort led by the California Attorney General's office aimed at getting Internet companies to provide better privacy protections for consumers.

Facebook is the seventh company to make that commitment aimed at providing consumers information about the data that apps will access, use, and share before they download them, according to a statement released today from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. In February, Harris announced agreements from Apple, Google and Microsoft, as well as Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Research in Motion.

The agreements with the firms are designed to improve compliance with California's Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires commercial Web sites or online services that collect personally identifiable information about consumers to conspicuously post a privacy policy that details the kinds of data gathered, how it will be shared with other parties and how consumers can view and make changes to their stored data.

Facebook built its App Center, which was launched earlier this month, with the principles of the AG's privacy guidelines in mind, said Erin Egan, chief privacy officer of Facebook.

"We are committed to building transparency, control, and accountability into all of our products, and we believe that the App Center empowers users to learn about the policies that will apply to data collected when they use mobile apps included in the Facebook App Center and to make informed choices about which apps they wish to use," she wrote in a letter to Harris.