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Mobile app development is no easy feat and there are a lot of factors to consider: design, features, and functionality. However, while it’s crucial that your app works, functionality isn’t the only thing you need to worry about.
Here’s why privacy policies are essential to mobile apps, what they should include, and how to create a policy that works for your app.
How Data Privacy Laws Can Affect Your App
Over the past few years, governments worldwide have implemented broad internet privacy laws. These regulations are intended to give people more control over how their private internet data gets used.
Some of these laws require businesses to provide privacy policies on their websites and mobile apps.
As a mobile app developer, three data privacy laws probably affect you:
- GDPR: The European Union’s regulation on data privacy requires all internet apps and sites to include a privacy notice that’s easily accessible, among other restrictions.
- CCPA: California’s data privacy law requires digital programs to provide specific privacy policies to users the first time they visit the site or the app’s download page.
- COPPA: The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires strict privacy notices on all pages aimed at children 13 and younger.
These laws define how apps and websites can use and collect private data and require them to supply privacy policies to users.
Depending on the type of app you develop and the features you include, you could potentially access sensitive information on a users phone, such as:
- Camera and Photos
- Location data
- Contact lists
- Calendar entries
- Various other sensitive information and features
For example, certain apps — such as messaging platforms or interactive games — need access to these data sources for them to work.
To comply with international privacy laws, you need to list whether your app uses any of these features, how it uses them, and how users can change those permissions.
- Collected types of personal information: You need to disclose whether your app accesses or saves data like the user’s name, phone number, location, or any other identifiable information.
- How personal information is gathered: You must disclose how your app accesses and records the data it saves.
- How you will use the information: You need to disclose the purpose of your data collection must fit specific criteria according to the GDPR.
- Any third parties who will access the collected information: You must disclose who else will be receiving the personal information you collect.
That depends on the laws involved.
In general, if your app is found to “target” citizens covered by these laws, you’re responsible for following them.
“Targeting” residents of the EU or California is as simple as providing content that is interesting or relevant to them somewhere they can access it.
For instance, a family restaurant’s website in Indiana doesn’t target EU or California residents because that information isn’t relevant to their interests.
However, a mobile app that presents menus for restaurants in all fifty states would most likely target California residents and thus need to comply with the CCPA.
Similarly, a food tracking app on the App Store or Google Play Store would also target EU residents if available for them to download.
The exact amount of the penalty depends on whether your violation was accidental or purposeful and what consequences users faced because of the offense.
CCPA and COPPA Liability
Any noncompliant apps targeting California residents are liable for a $2500 fine per unintentional violation or $7500 per intentional violation.
App Store Penalties
Even if you’re willing to restrict your app to non-EU and non-California residents, barring all Apple users from getting your app is terrible for business.
The Bottom Line
Now you're able to jump right in and start developing your no code mobile app!