California sues Delta Air Lines over mobile app privacy policy

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris has filed suit against Delta Air Lines, claiming that the company has not provided a privacy policy for its mobile app.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The state of California has fired the opening shot in its fight to get mobile apps to comply with state privacy laws. California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris filed a suit against Delta Air Lines over its Fly Delta mobile app.

The app allows Delta fliers to check into flights, pay for checked baggage and access their frequent flier accounts with the airline. But the suit alleges that Delta has not provided a privacy policy for its standalone app, which gathers information such as a traveler’s full name, billing and home addresses, date of birth and credit card information.

“Users of the Fly Delta application do not know what personally identifiable information Delta collects about them, how Delta uses that information, or to whom that information is shared, disclosed, or sold,” the complaint reads.

While the company has a privacy policy for its website, says the complaint, it fails to provide a clear privacy policy for the Fly Delta app, which also collects data through geo-location and photographs.

California’s top cop put 100 mobile apps on notice in October, warning Delta and others that they were out of compliance with a state law that requires all commercial providers of websites and online services to “conspicuously post detailed privacy policies.” The suit against Delta is the state’s first under the 2004 law.


At the time, Delta issued a statement saying, “We have received the letter from the Attorney General and intend to provide the requested information.”

Harris’ office said Thursday that the company had not complied within the 30-day time frame required. A Delta spokesman said he could not comment on pending litigation.

“Losing your personal privacy should not be the cost of using mobile apps, but all too often it is,” Harris said in a statement. “California law is clear that mobile apps collecting personal information need privacy policies, and that the users of those apps deserve to know what is being done with their personal information.”

In February, Harris brokered an agreement on online privacy policies with several tech giants, including Google, Apple and Microsoft.


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