There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks about what mobile apps do with personal data, highlighted by Path's practice of uploading contact lists to its servers without first informing users. In light of these privacy concerns, Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM, Amazon, and HP have all agreed to require developers to include privacy policies with their apps that users can read before deciding to purchase and download. The driving force behind this change is California's Online Privacy Protection Act, which California Attorney General Kamala Harris says now applies to mobile apps. Harris first initiated contact with these six companies in August of 2011 after realizing there was confusion as to whether this act applied to mobile apps.

To comply with the act, each company will have to make some changes to its app store so that the text of the app's privacy policy is visible or clearly linked; companies must also monitor developers to make sure they comply. There's no hard timeline on when the changes must be implemented — the Attorney General's office will meet with each company in six months to review, so we'd imagine changes will be in place by then. Google confirmed it would make the necessary updates to the Android market "in the coming weeks." We'll be watching to see what changes Apple, Microsoft, and the rest make to their app stores to comply with this act — Harris promised that California would sue companies and developers who don't take this policy seriously.