United, Delta and OpenTable receive warning over inaccessible privacy policies

The state of California has warned OpenTable, United Continental, and Delta Air Lines over their inaccessible privacy policies for mobile users, according to a source familiar with the issue. Reportedly, the companies were notified via a letter from the California Attorney General that they have 30 days to make their privacy policies "readily accessible." The source declined being named because the happenings aren't public.

In an emailed statement, California AG Kamala Harris said, "Protecting the privacy of online consumers is a serious law enforcement matter. We have worked hard to ensure that app developers are aware of their legal obligations to respect the privacy of Californians, but it is critical that we take all necessary steps to enforce California's privacy laws." The alleged violation is in regards to California law that requires privacy policies for apps that collect personal data.

United Continental spokesman Mary Clark issued this statement: "[United] is taking all steps necessary and appropriate to ensure compliance with California law as it relates to our mobile app." Delta also issued a statement, saying that the company would institute a privacy policy as requested. Other companies that have agreed to "encourage compliance" with California's privacy laws include Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, HP, RIM, and Amazon.

ACLU technology lawyer Chris Conley told Bloomberg in an interview: "As people become more concerned about how much information is on a smartphone — about their location, about their contacts, about their shopping — I think people will pay more attention to applications' policies in terms of what they collect, how they use it, what they retain and how they share this data." According to Conley, California is the only state that requires privacy policies for apps in addition to websites. Failure to adhere to the privacy policy laws could result in a $2,500 fine per app download.

[via Bloomberg]