Contributed by Evan D’Abrosca, West Warwick, Rhode Island, 3L Roger Williams University Law School

In the standards set by the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) to developers of websites and mobile applications, websites and apps have to have their privacy policy clearly labeled, properly displayed, easy to read, and transparent for the user. All of these properties make an easy way to know why the website or app is using personal information, who is collecting it, and where the information is going. However, there is no industry standard for how transparent a privacy policy has to be. Some websites use broad terms to describe the information, where others are very clear and precise. The questions that need to be looked at in the law are: what privacy practices are being used for apps and websites and how transparent should website and app developers be with the consumer?

Developers such as Rovio, the company that created “Angry Birds,” have a privacy policy that tells users exactly what they want to know. They display where the user’s data is going, who is getting access to it, and what is being accessed. They set up their policy to let the user know that everything is being used for their personal experience and this applies to geo-location services as well. Rovio is clear in saying that their app is used to bring them ads and experiences that are local to the user. However, this type of privacy police is not standard.

In a smaller company like Ustwo, the company that made “Monument Valley,” there is no real way to access their privacy policy easily. One has to Google search for their policy, which can be found in a blog post that states, “We will not sell your data to anyone or do anything bad in any other way.” This is a dramatic difference from Rovio. Users paid for this app and even though they say they are not using one’s data, can it be trusted? It’s a short line and leaves a lot of questions as to what the developer is doing with the information.

There needs to be some transparency regulation with website and app developers. A stricter rule of what can be said in broad terms and what should be properly displayed for the consumer. In this modern age where everything can be accessed on a smartphone, there should be no chances taken when it comes to the privacy of those that keep the app and website developers in business, the consumer. CalOPPA is working to protect personal information and there should be a standard for what needs to be said and done by developers.