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California clamping down on ‘nosy’ mobile apps to ensure better mobile privacy disclosures

California clamping down on ‘nosy’ mobile apps to ensure better mobile privacy disclosures  With privacy concerns having intensified of late in the wake of Google's decision to blend together its privacy policies of different products into one single privacy policy, California is making attempts to protect consumer privacy by asking the `nosy' mobile apps to give users an advance warning about their intentions of pulling personal data from smartphones and tablets.

Against the backdrop of the speculations that the changes to Google's privacy policy - scheduled to take effect from March 1 - will facilitate the Internet search giant in combining users' details from its various services sell more online advertising, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, along with 35 other attorneys, sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page earlier this week, seeking a meeting with the company's executives in order to discuss the implications of its `troubling' privacy-policy changes.

The California clamp down on `nosy' apps comes almost six months after Harris announced an agreement with six bigwig companies - Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research in Motion - underscoring the need of disclosure of privacy policies by app developers.

According to Harris, there apparently is some confusion over a 7-year-old online privacy-governing law - requiring online services collecting users' personal data to "conspicuously post" a privacy policy - which most online services do not know whether it is applicable to them.

Noting that intrusive apps drill into address books and other personal information without the users' permission, Harris said that such a privacy breach is something "most consumers don't want that to happen and in most cases don't know that is happening."