Over the past few weeks we’ve seen both iOS and Android apps come under fire for their handling of customer data. Several weeks of controversy surrounding the way that applications were handling customer data likely contributed to Google being more proactive about app privacy.
Apple, Microsoft, HP, Amazon, Google and RIM, among other companies, have already committed to an agreement with the California Attorney General to disclose app privacy policies before downloading. The agreement, while voluntary on the part of the companies, does carry a penalty:
If developers do not comply with their stated privacy policies, they can be prosecuted under California’s Unfair Competition Law and/or False Advertising Law.
It seems likely that this move by Google is part of an attempt to comply with this request. Apple currently does not expose privacy policies of apps to users before download, providing only a link to the website of an app developer, who may post it there.