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Tags: apps | appmakers | government

App Makers Getting Out in Front of Government Intervention

illustrations of a hand holding a smartphone while apps jump off of it

Julio Rivera By Friday, 21 February 2020 09:35 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Apps. They count our steps. They filter our photos. They hail us a ride when we're stuck across town in the rain. They give us, sometimes to the horror of our overly speculative natures, medical information and possible diagnoses, and they even connect us to our loved ones via voice, text and video.

They have also attained an overall immeasurable importance in our lives for convenience they provide to consumers utilizing their various functions for a multitude of possible reasons.

Over the years, with the growth of ecommerce and the demand for newer, faster, more powerful and all-encompassing technology, due to the actions of some ill-intentioned profiteers, the internet has at times become somewhat reminiscent of a 19th century Medicine Show, complete with outrageous claims of how miraculous digital elixirs can serve as a "cure-all" for consumer melancholia.

At times, the advertising claims and tactics used by some app makers has crossed into a territory that has cast the highly competitive business of selling apps in a negative light, with "good guy" app makers being lumped in with the lawless mountebanks currently populating the dark alleys of the digital marketplace.

These developments led to the creation of CleanApps.org, which is a business association comprised of app makers, marketers and their enablers. The organization is essentially a trade group of leading software and tech companies, whose goal is to create a safer internet economy for consumers by educating business communities about the significance of compliant development and app promotion.

CleanApps.org recently held its second industry summit of 2020 in Las Vegas. Among the issues discussed at the event were how the controversial Communications Decency Act's (CDA) section 230 has affected the way some applications have chosen to interact with each other.

Other panels touched on matters related to consumer protection and the waves of privacy laws being slowly enacted individually in different states, beginning in California, that are imposing laws similar to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).vThe panels offered a review of the key provisions of these laws, both new and old, and offered tips on compliance strategies for app developers.

The advisory board for CleanApps includes Glaucia Young, an engineering director at Microsoft; Dennis Batchelder, president of AppEsteem, another industry group that has offered a roadmap to what can be considered good industry practices; and Linda Sherry – the director of national priorities at Consumer Action.

Part of the value of these types of industry cooperatives centers on the fact that some app makers lack the financial resources to keep tabs on new policies related to advertising, payment processing rules, the changing privacy laws, or even security related policies. The aggregate knowledge of the participating businesses serves to help app makers better service customers in a legally, and perhaps more importantly, ethically compliant way.

Legal compliance and ethical practices are especially important as the internet still remains somewhat lightly regulated. That fact is actually a good one, as the cybersphere hasn't had its growth and innovation stifled by the kind of industry-killing, heavy-handed regulatory restraints that the Trump administration has continually worked hard to roll back.

According to CleanApps' Executive Director Lou Da Re, "We are seeing the end of 'the wild west' of the internet. And while policy and regulation are necessary to ensure Apps are safe, respectful of customers' privacy, and do not engage in deception, it is important that commerce is not stifled in the process. CleanApps.org is here to inform its members of existing and pending regulations and to be a voice for App makers and app marketers to ensure fairness and sanity in the regulations."

This same sentiment was echoed by the president of CleanApps, Bogdan Odulinski, who opined, "The reality is that the pace at which new regulations are added and changed means that the entire app supply chain is changing as well. App platforms, advertising platforms, payment processors, and security-related enforcers are all changing their policies in ways that affect every app maker. CleanApps.org hopes to successfully promote best practices that recognize and anticipate those changes."

Fair and honest business practices should not have to be coerced under the threat of governmental intervention. The future and freedom of innovation in the world of app making and marketing is contingent on well-intentioned businesses operating in the best interests of consumers, and not out-of-touch legislators or unelected bureaucrats making decisions for an industry of which many may lack a true familiarity.

Julio Rivera is a small business consultant, political activist, writer and Editorial Director for Reactionary Times. He has been a regular contributor to Newsmax TV and columnist for Newsmax.com since 2016. His writing, which is concentrated on politics, cybersecurity and sports, has also been published by websites including The Hill, The Washington Times, LifeZette, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Toronto Sun and PJ Media and many others. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Fair and honest business practices should not have to be coerced under the threat of governmental intervention.
apps, appmakers, government
Friday, 21 February 2020 09:35 AM
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