Google Play Mobile Applications – Non-Compliance with Privacy Policy and Prominent Disclosure Requirements

We are often contacted by clients (mostly mobile application owners or developers) when they are surprised to find a notice of policy violation issued by the Google Play Store. Many a times such notices relate to privacy law violations and provide mobile application owners a certain amount of time to rectify the issues. A failure to comply with such notice can result in permanent removal or suspension of the mobile application from the Google Play Store.

PIPEDA

Privacy laws govern the collection, use, and transmission of the private information of individuals. Private information can range from an individual’s date of birth to the IP address of the individual’s computer or mobile phone. In Canada, the primary privacy legislation is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). PIPEDA, among other things, requires organizations to implement transparent privacy policies, including but not limited to, proper disclosure of private information which is obtained, stored, and transmitted to third parties, and proper complaint procedures relating to privacy matters. 

Google Play Stores’s Privacy Rules and Regulations

Similar to the privacy laws implemented by countries, states, or provinces, platforms such as the Google Play Store have implemented privacy rules and regulations of their own to ensure the protection of individuals’ private information. Google Play Store continuously monitors mobile application for compliance with its rules and regulations, some of which are set out in Google Play Store’s Developer Program Policies. Often times, mobile application owners are delivered policy violation notices in relation to Developer Program Policies, and more specifically, relating to issues with the mobile application’s posted privacy policy and failure to comply with prominent disclosure requirements.

Privacy Policies for Mobile Applications

All mobile applications on the Google Play Store are required to have a privacy policy. The privacy policy should be compliant with local privacy legislation and Google Play Store’s Developer Program Policies and other privacy rules and regulations. Failure to upload a proper privacy policy can result in temporary or permanent removal of the mobile application from the Google Play Store or worse, penalties under local privacy legislations such as PIPEDA. Privacy policies speak to the use of private information on mobile applications, including, the transmission of private information to third parties and service providers, and the storage of private information, among other things. Privacy policies are opportunities for mobile application owners to be transparent in their privacy objectives and principles. Privacy policies ensure that users are well informed on how their private information is collected on mobile applications.

Prominent Disclosure

Prominent disclosure is an important component of Google Play Store’s Developer Program Policies. Google Play Store requires that “prominent disclosure” be provided where the use, collection, or transmission of private information is not reasonably expected in the circumstances. For example, the collection of an individual’s name and email can be reasonably expected for the use and operation of most mobile applications. On the other hand, a recent trend of Google Play Store notice of policy violations has shown that mobile applications are failing to disclose that they collect “installed application” information, which is a list of the installed applications on an individual’s mobile phone or other device used to operate the mobile application. In the case of a standard mobile application, it can be argued that the collection of this information may not be reasonable in the circumstances and is not required to facilitate the normal functionality of the mobile application. In such circumstances, Google Play Store requires that “prominent disclosure” be provided relating to the unexpected use, collection, or transmission of private information. Implementing “prominent disclosure” can mean providing explicit terms in the mobile application’s privacy policy, requiring explicit consent from users (which can be in the form of a “tick the box” or “cancel” button), or providing clear terminology and warnings relating to the issue directly in the mobile application.

Falcon Law PC’s Privacy Law Services

Our team of lawyers are well versed in privacy law matters such as Google Play Store’s Developer Program Policies violations and notices, PIPEDA and other national, state, or provincial privacy law legislations, drafting and review of privacy policy documents for mobile applications. If you are a mobile application owner or developer and require legal advice, please contact our lawyers for a free virtual or phone consultation by emailing us at info@falconlawyers.ca.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

If you’ve got a website going or are thinking of starting one soon, let’s team up and make sure you’re protected on the internet.

Talk to us now at

Subscribe to our newsletter

What Is a Corporate Profile Search & How Can It Help Me?
Scroll to Top
Call Now ButtonCALL NOW