Platforms like the iOS App Store and Google Play have opened up a world of opportunity to app developers. In a matter of just a few weeks it’s possible to have a live mobile app that’s available for download by millions of customers all over the world. The app business is certainly one of the lowest barrier-to-entry businesses out there, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to worry about the legal issues facing every other type of business.
- Disclose what personal information is collected through use of your app
- State how that information is used and whether it is shared with other parties
- Explain the process by which users can review their information or make changes
- List the effective date and any modifications to the policy since then
- Display your contact information for questions or concerns related to privacy issues
Many mobile apps, particularly games, are likely to attract a younger audience. If your app falls within this category, you absolutely need to take privacy issues very seriously.
The FCC has imposed huge fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars for violations of COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Even some smaller app companies have been hit with penalties. There are very strict mobile app privacy requirements if your app is likely to attract children under 13 as users because protecting children is a major concern in our society.
Abiding by the COPPA regulations is a major burden, which is why large companies like Facebook and Twitter require users to be at least 13 years of age to sign up. Meeting the COPPA requirements is likely too difficult a task for small companies or solo app developers, so if your app would tend to attract users of a younger age in any way, it’s best to avoid collecting any personal information from your users.
Failing to abide by privacy laws can be costly. So before you jump into the exciting business of mobile apps, make sure you are aware of these major privacy issues so that you set yourself up to avoid any problems.