App Developers Face Fines for Lacking Privacy Policies

To be clear and up front: privacy policies suck. I’m currently analyzing the policies of major social networks and if the policies were merely horrific then they’d be massively better than they actually are today.

That said, a privacy policy at least indicates that an organization took the time to copy someone else’s policy. For the briefest of moments there was some (however marginal) contemplation about how the organization’s actions related to privacy. While most companies will just hire a lawyer to slap legalese on their websites, a few will actually think about their data collection and its implications for individuals’ privacy. That’s really all you can hope for privacy policies to generally accomplish unless the company out-and-out lies in their policy. If they do lie then you can get the FTC involved.

The potential for ‘enjoying’ a $2,500 fine per download if a company lacks a privacy policy is a massive stick and, hopefully, will get developers to at least consider how their collection of data implicates users’ privacy. The California approach is not the solution to the problem of people’s data being collected without their genuine consent but at least it’s a start.