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Making a Mobile App? How Not to Get Sued

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Mobile apps and the law.

These are two things that you might never have thought would go hand-in-hand. But they do.

What lesson can be learned from the recent spate of privacy-related lawsuits against tech companies? Well, basically one thing: high tech gadgets and software need to comply with the law. If you or one of your clients is in the midst of building a mobile app, there are some legal issues you should probably consider.

Make sure the app meets the marketplace's requirements.

Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market both have requirements for apps to have certain legal disclaimers. In Apple's case, if your app doesn't have the required terms then Apple's own generic terms will apply.

If you don't want to have generalized legal disclaimers for your app, make sure to include them yourself.

Be explicit about what your app costs.

Many apps rely on "in-game" purchases to generate revenue. If your app relies on this type of income, be sure to include clear disclaimers about how purchases will be made. Irate customers upset about "accidental" purchases won't be giving your app 5-star reviews.

Ensure you're safeguarding user data and privacy.

Most applications tend to be customized. And customizing apps means one thing: getting user information. As attorneys, we know that invasion of privacy is a serious legal issue. Be careful about what data you collect from consumers and how you use it. You don't want to run the risk of a lawsuit by being careless. Consider making consumers consent to data collection before you start.

The above suggestions probably aren't the only things you'll have to consider when making your mobile app compliant with the law. But at least they're a start - happy coding!

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