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California dismisses Delta's mobile privacy suit

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The rise of the mobile economy has increased fears that the medium has raced ahead of security efforts, leaving users vulnerable to privacy breaches. One could easily spin a scenario in which a company embraces some leading-edge mobile functionality without fully thinking through the security implications, opening itself up to significant legal risk.

The issue is interesting in light of the recent suit brought by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who filed suit against Delta Airlines in December, alleging that the airline had violated the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) by failing to properly disclose the data collection and use policies associated with its Fly Delta smartphone app, as noted by ComputerWorld.

The lawsuit was filed after Delta failed to quickly respond after the state notified it of the alleged privacy violations. Delta has been offering the Fly Delta app since 2010 to allow users to perform tasking like checking in for flights, viewing reservations, rebooking or cancelling flights, and checking baggage.

The lawsuit argued that that the mobile service violates the CalOPPA law by not providing information on Delta's data collection or consumer use policies.

In a big win for the airline, however, a California state court has dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the federal Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) of 1978 supersedes state statutes.

It's possible we could see federal action in this area. At the same time, the state of California will likely choose to pursue other cases. Harris has been a vocal proponent of mobile protections for consumers, and has inked a deal with Facebook, Google and others to make privacy policies more transparent, the magazine notes.

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