Posts tagged with "data breach notification"

Protection of Privacy & Intellectual Property Remain Major Concerns for App Developers & Owners

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If you are a business owner intending to offer a mobile application (“app”) to customers, clients or members, in addition to being clear about who owns what from an intellectual property point of view as to the app’s content and the data it generates, be sure that its construction and operation allow you to meet regulatory requirements. Knowing the legal issues you could face will allow for better design and operation of the app and lessen the chances for missteps.

Here are questions to ask the app’s developer and your operations and maintenance team, along with some actions you can take to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Considering Intellectual Property Protection Issues:

• Who will own the copyrightable content in the mobile app? You or the developer?
• Will the app contain trade secrets or patentable subject matter?
• Will the app incorporate the intellectual property of third parties, such as trademarks or photographs?
• Will the app’s construction rely on any open source software?

The best way to address intellectual property issues is to have appropriate written agreements in place, such as licenses for third-party content, work-made-for-hire agreements, assignments of rights, and non-disclosure agreements.

Considering Privacy and Personal Data Protection Issues:

• What is the minimum personal data that you need to collect to achieve your objectives?
• What kind of technical data, such as IP addresses and transaction data, will the app collect?
• Will you be collecting personal data from minors, especially those under the age of 13?
• Will the app be used by people outside of the USA?
• Will the app offer opt-in or opt-out mechanisms?
• How will the data be stored?
• What kind of procedures will be in place in the event of a cyber breach in the collection or storage of your data?

If the app will collect personal information about users such as health or financial information, or if it will be interacting with minors, then it is critical to be proactive. Analyze your methods of collection, use and storage of the data. Identify the regulatory requirements your app must satisfy prior to collecting personal information (e.g., having the consent of the user) or how to deal with an outside breach of security (think Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan/Chase). Such forethought will enable you to have policies and procedures to lessen exposure and/or allow for timely corrective action should a cyber breach of your data protection safeguards take place.

Developments in Privacy Arena for: Mobile Apps & Online Data Breach Notification
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ATTENTION– mobile app developers and advertisers in the mobile Web environment.  Despite the talk of political gridlock, a combination of federal agencies, private groups and Congress have moved forward in 2013 with ways to solve some of the important dilemmas associated with the protection of personal information.  Here is the scoop as to some of what has been happening and links to important documents which can inform you about the regulatory developments in the mobile Web environment.

·       The Digital Advertising Alliance, a consortium of the some big players in advertising, released guidance this summer explaining the application of their Self-Regulatory Principals, in the mobile app and mobile Web environment.  Their seven Self-Regulatory Principals are at:   The Guidance is at:

·       The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) developed additional guidance in the form of answers to some FAQ related to compliance with their recently issued Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule”), effective as of July 1, 2013.

·       Go to to see the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (the “Act”).  The FTC’s Rule, which implements the Act, may be found at:  You can find the FTC’s Guidance for complying with the Act and answers its FAQ at: and

·       The U.S. House of Representatives has not been asleep at the switch.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, has set up a bipartisan working group to examine online privacy issues and the need to protect personal information while not hindering innovation.  The Subcommittee has also held hearings into the reporting requirements of consumer data breaches.  Currently, the reporting of such Internet breaches of consumer data is covered by a patchwork of state laws. (For a list of the state laws regulating notification requirements for security breaches involving personal information, see ).   Needless to say, the industry would prefer implementation of a uniform technology neutral standard that could be established by federal law.

              In future blogs, I will examine a number of these developments in the protection of personal data and mobile devices in more detail.