PaySimple's Ask the AdvisorAsk the Advisor is a weekly PaySimple column featuring reader-submitted small business questions answered by our panel of business professionals. If you would like to submit a question, or become a PaySimple business advisor, please read the information at the bottom of this article.

This week’s question is answered by Scott Smedresman, associate at the SorinRand law firm.

Question:

“What current issue should developers of mobile technology/apps be considering, and how can companies get out ahead of the issue?”

Answer:

scott-smedresman Mobile privacy.

Barely a day goes by without a news article or legislative proposal on mobile privacy issues. The California Attorney General has been aggressively policing apps without privacy policies, even suing Delta Airlines for not having one. Major app marketplaces have cut deals with the California AG where they may report apps without privacy policies to regulators for potential enforcement action. Federal laws are being introduced on a regular basis regarding how apps collect data and disclose their information gathering practices to the public, such as the proposed 2013 APPS Act, which requires apps to post and comply with privacy policies.

Best practice teaches that developers should bake privacy considerations into their apps from day one. Thinking about issues like security and information sharing both before and during the development process can reduce the costs of compliance and minimize the need to make changes later on.

If you don’t already have one, prepare a privacy policy describing what data you collect, how you use it, who you share it with, how you secure it and how user can access their data. The policy should be posted in the app in a place that is reasonably accessible to users – don’t bury it behind a series of menus. Taking that small step can bring your company into better compliance with the law and stay off regulators’ radars.

When preparing your privacy policy, it is the perfect opportunity to prepare an end user license agreement (EULA) for your app if you don’t have one. A EULA can provide some critical protections to app companies that aren’t available without a contract in place, like disclaimers and liability limitations. If you are using user-supplied materials, it is also a good place to satisfy your DMCA immunity obligations (the immunity that prevents your app from being held responsible for copyright infringement caused by your users’ uploads). Prepare a EULA and implement it in a way that requires a user to click-through the agreement prior to their use of the app for best results.

About the Advisor

Scott Smedresman is an associate of the SorinRand law firm. He concentrates his practice in corporate technology transactions and intellectual property-related agreements, including license, development, collaboration, distribution, service, and maintenance agreements, as well as trademark and copyright strategy, prosecution, enforcement, and infringement.


Contact Info:
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Disclaimer:
The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor should it be viewed as legal advice. No one should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information in this website without seeking the appropriate professional counsel on his or her particular circumstances.

Patrick Jones

Patrick Jones

Hello world! My name is Patrick Jones and I’m a search engine optimization associate at PaySimple. When I’m not crafting witty blog posts and tweaking AdWords campaigns here at PaySimple in downtown Denver, you can find me trout fishing, paragliding, mountain biking, or tinkering with my fitness marketing project.

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