Privacy is not an option: Europe’s GDPR imposes strict rules on app developers to address privacy issues.
All have a cost, and installing and using apps on smartphones is the loss of privacy. As security technologist and cryptographer Bruce Schneier so aptly observes, walking around with a smartphone is like bringing a tracking device with you all the time.
With the modern world revolving around mobile applications, the smartphone boom spurred app development. This is especially significant for Millennials and Gen Zers, whose desire for instant information has stayed consistent over the years.
For instance, in EU-27, at least 92% of young people use their cell phones to access the internet when they are not at home or work. In 2021, over 522 million smartphones are expected to be used in Europe.
Despite the widespread use of smartphones, a recent Eurobarometer survey found that 67% of Europeans are worried about losing control over their data online. Over 90% of them want the same data protection rights in the EU, irrespective of where their data is processed.
These concerns led to an agreement on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which the European Parliament adopted on April 14, 2016. GDPR rules were introduced to the law on data security and privacy in the EU and the European Economic Area on May 25, 2018, and went into effect on that day.
Since these regulations place new requirements on collecting, saving, and processing personal data of European residents, app developers in Europe must consider their GDPR obligations and the effect of GDPR on app development.
Identifying the main requirements of GDPR, on the other hand, is difficult due to the law’s length of almost 90 pages. GDPR will apply differently to different apps depending on their function or the service they offer, according to the law’s details. As a result, before developing products for post-GDPR Europe, software developers must first consider how GDPR relates to mobile apps in general.
The GDPR, for instance, does not specify what an app can and cannot do; instead, it controls how an app developer can process personal data within an app.
Obtain Informed Consent, Provide Opt-In and Opt-Out.
When a customer decides to opt-in to data exchange as stated in the terms and conditions, this is the crucial moment of customer interaction. To comply with GDPR, a software developer must receive active, informed consent from app users. Developers must educate users of the intent of gathering personal information and include individual choices, such as opting out, when obtaining specific information.
As an app developer, you must know and protect your users.
- Make sure you understand what kind of data you have for each customer.
- Ensure the data is stored securely and that it is adequately secured.
- Ensure the information is accessible at the appropriate time.
Assure that there is a legal basis for processing personal data.
For an app developer to capture, store, or use someone’s data, GDPR needs a compelling justification.
Article 6 of the GDPR outlines six legal grounds for processing personal data.
- 1. Consent: User consent is required for advertising and an app’s interactions with customer devices.
- 2. Contract: The provisions of a contract should do all data processing.
- 3. Legal Obligation: Data collection should be required by law, such as in the case of information security, employment, or consumer transaction laws.
- 4. Vital Interest: This usually occurs in life-threatening medical cases where data processing is required to save a life.
- 5. Data processed by a government agency or an entity operating on behalf of a government entity is considered public interest.
- 6. Legitimate Interests: Customers expect companies to process sensitive information for marketing and fraud prevention purposes. App developers must affirm that collecting and processing personal data is needed for the app’s functioning.
When processing personal data, follow the GDPR’s six privacy principles.
- 2. Purpose Limitation: GDPR Article 18 allows app users to request that their data be processed only for the following purposes:
- Processing that is not legal.
- Data that is not needed for the specified reason.
App developers must stop processing immediately and meet with the customer’s request.
- 3. Data Minimization: Do not collect personal data that you do not use when developing your app.
- 5. Data Storage Limitation: Personal data of the users can only be kept in the archive for as long as it is used for the purpose for which it was collected.
- 6. Integrity and Confidentiality: Personal information should be secure and secured from unauthorised or unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction, or damage.
Be mindful of the seventh principle of accountability, which is often overlooked when compiling a list of principles.
Be Aware of Data Requests and Necessary Permissions
Obtaining permission from customers before using personal data is a simple way to prevent high GDPR penalties.
The GDPR’s two main priorities are transparency and educating the public about how their data is used.
The Right to be Forgotten
The GDPR gives mobile app users the “right to be forgotten.” When their data is no longer used for a specified reason, they have the right to have it erased. Customers may request that their data be changed or erased irreversibly.
Despite its strict data collection and processing rules, GDPR poses no challenge to app developers or businesses. It is simply a chance to understand how data is used and how to safeguard customer privacy.