Although the “fun” side of mobile app development is just that—fun—there’s more to the industry than just examining the new and the next. For better or worse, the policy side of mobility is becoming an increasingly important part of running a business that deals with mobile apps.
Though we don’t talk about it much, the App47 team devotes a significant amount of time and resources to understanding, applying, and shaping the policies and laws surrounding our field. For years we’ve been involved in a number of efforts to work with lawmakers on mobility policy, perhaps most significantly in conjunction with ACT (The App Association), with whom we’ve visited Washington a number of times.
A few weeks ago, we attended a luncheon with around 40 congressional staffers to discuss the policies that impact companies in the mobility space.
The conversation centered around copyright and trademark laws, patents, and the importance of understanding policies for entrepreneurs in the space. Our big point of emphasis was the potential unintended consequences of writing laws without understanding the technology behind them.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), for example, is a law that was written with the important purpose of restricting the collection of personal information of children. While there’s no question that these protections are necessary, the law as it’s written is so complex that a developer in his garage likely needs to hire a lawyer in order to remain compliant. Some complexity is inevitable, but questions of effectiveness arise when a good law is written such that it stifles growth and innovation.
We understand the need for laws and policies regulating industry, but we’re also big believers that they should be written with a deep understanding of the technology in the industry. And that was the crux of our contributions to the conversation at this ACT luncheon: sensible policy is good, and we’re glad to help contribute to its writing where we can in order to avoid unintended consequences.