App developers have recently been hit with serious privacy concerns stemming from the collection of personal information from their users. This has resulted in embarrassment and bad publicity, as well as mounting legal problems.
These developers are facing a growing number of class actions and increased government scrutiny from agencies such as the FTC demanding more transparency and consumer protections. Silicon Valley lawyers agree that self-regulation in the form of easily understandable privacy policies and consistently obtaining permission from users is the best line of defense.
"The general piece of advice lawyers give is disclosure, disclosure, disclosure," said Tyler Newby, of counsel at Fenwick & West, who is a former U.S. attorney in the Department of Justice's computer crime and intellectual property section.
While class actions have meant more work for Bay Area law firms, Newby says that the cost to defend these suits is a "real concern to defendants."