646 666 9601 [email protected]

If you are an app developer with a live or soon-to-be-released app, the last few months have been critical in terms of legal risk. The world is becoming more difficult for technology entrepreneurs, particularly app creators. Take the following legal procedures right once to assist decrease your exposure to penalties and responsibility, which are increasingly serious worries for app developers and technology entrepreneurs alike. Based on recent news reports, these are the legal activities that every app developer should take right now.


App Developer

1 Require Users to Acknowledge Having Read a Properly Drafted Privacy Policy

Late this week, California Attorney General Kamala Harris revealed that Facebook has signed the Joint Statement of Principles, which attempts to enhance online privacy. App developers (including those running inside the Facebook network) must “conspicuously display” a privacy policy to users, according to one of these principles. Companies that are found to be in breach may face fines of up to $2500 per application download. According to Ms. Harris’ statement, “the firms were given 30 days to prominently publish a privacy policy inside their app that notifies users of what personally identifiable information about them is being gathered and what would be done with that private information.”

A properly prepared privacy policy is now required for every online or mobile application. A privacy policy’s purpose is to notify the user about the information you gather and how you utilise it. Over the next several years, privacy will become more vital, and app entrepreneurs (particularly those who rely on social networks) will increasingly find themselves accountable for a variety of things if it is not properly prepared or users admit that they have read it.

2 Get Users to Agree to Properly Drafted Terms of Service

In early October, a judge invalidated Zappos’ terms of service agreement in connection with prospective class action lawsuits coming from a security breach that impacted 24 million individuals. Their terms of service were invalidated for two reasons. For starters, Zappos did not need consumers to physically subscribe to their terms of service; instead, it was buried in their infamously long footer. The court ruled that this was insufficient to create a contractual relationship with users. Second, the company’s terms of service included a unilateral modification provision that permitted them to change their terms of service at any moment. Courts usually dislike these sorts of terms and may use them to declare the whole agreement invalid, with the exception of some types of e-commerce enterprises. As a consequence of these two errors, the company’s terms of service, as well as the arbitration provision included therein, were invalidated, so preventing class action litigation. When 24 million people may now possibly join forces in a class action suit, this is not a good outcome.

This is good advice for everyone creating an internet product, not just applications. If you felt that requiring consumers to adhere to terms of service would harm the user experience, you should reconsider. Whether you want to have your users tick a box, click a button, or browse through your agreements, you must have them physically agree to a set of terms of service that is exclusive to your site. Furthermore, every time you change your terms of service, you must have users agree to them again when they log in (or find another way to have users agree to the new terms of use). This may be done in a method that does not negatively impact user experience, and your users are becoming used to these kind of upgrades.

As a result of these new advances, many app developers are making modifications swiftly. Over the last month, we’ve witnessed a 200 percent increase in requests for usage and privacy policy development. Given the events of this month, these papers are more relevant than ever. It is past time to begin taking them seriously.