Compliance with online privacy rules just got a little more complicated. The Wall Street Journal is reporting late this afte© Can Stock Photo Inc. / iqonceptrnoon that California Attorney General Kamala Harris has reached an agreement with six leading mobile device companies regarding privacy policies for apps.  The companies who agreed to the settlement are the largest in the sphere: Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, HP, and RIM.

While details appear to be sketchy at this point, the key change is that all apps offered through platforms for the companies’ devices will now be required to have a privacy policy. There is no timetable yet for implementation of the policy, but the Attorney General said that she will enforce the settlement and prosecute companies without policies or who use personal information in violation of their policies. While the settlement applies in California only, it is expected that the policies will be uniform across all devices and for all states.

This settlement appears to represent only the latest government effort to monitor and regulate personal information online.  Of course, the Facebook settlement last fall was substantial. Some members of Congress have demanded hearings respecting announced changes in Google’s privacy policies.  And just in the last week it was disclosed that the FTC is investigating background check companies for violations of their privacy policies and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  Given the current regulatory environment, ensuring that privacy policies for information franchisors and franchisees collect online are complete, and followed completely, is essential.