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Calif. sues Delta for mobile-app privacy notification failure

Delta jets taxi at the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport. (Al Behrman)

December 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
California sued Delta Airlines Thursday for violating the state's Online Privacy Protection Act. Delta does not warn consumers that sensitive information is collected each time users contact the company on its "Fly Delta" mobile application.

It is the first legal test of the eight-year-old law. The law requires companies to prominently notify app users about what identifiable information is being collected and how it will be used. California is the only state with an apps-privacy law.

Attorney General Kamala Harris filed the suit in San Francisco Superior Court.

Harris says the company missed a 30-day window to comply with the privacy law on its "Fly Delta" app, which is designed for use on smartphones and other mobile devices. Customers can log on to check in for a flight, review reservations, book flights and pay for checked baggage.

Harris is seeking an injunction barring Delta from distributing the application until it posts a privacy policy. She is asking for a penalty of up to $2,500 for each violation, though the lawsuit leaves it up to a judge to determine what constitutes a violation.

Harris previously reached an agreement with seven companies to warn users about their privacy policy in a consistent, prominent way before consumers download the mobile application. The companies agreeing to comply with California's law are Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research in Motion.

Delta had no comment on the pending litigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.