Sunday, 4 August 2019

Best Privacy Policy and Terms of Service in an app

I found one of the best examples of a privacy policy and terms of service in an app in a long time!

I downloaded and installed a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) app on my phone this morning and whilst the app won't work for me (more on this below) I was very impressed with their implementation of the terms of service and privacy policy.  During the onboarding it was very clear what Terms of Service were as it was in simple plain English and not legalese.  It was short and concise in a dot point format and clearly made sure that it was clear that they were going to use your data but it was still owned by you.

It was short enough I actually skimmed / read the Terms before pressing the Continue.  Surprisingly there was no easy option to not continue.  I suppose for me the phone back button would have been the option.  


The next step was the Privacy Policy which was almost as easy to review as the Terms of Service.  Again the summary was clear as to what the privacy policy was about.


I wish all app developers who are collecting data for use would simplify their terms and privacy policies.  I'm sure there were more detailed versions of both somewhere on the Elite HRV app site and in app although I didn't attempt to read any more.  

I can't understand the ridiculousness of expecting users to 'read' and agree to the terms when there are pages and pages and pages of information.  Why bother?  I wonder what percentage would have even gone past the first "page" of the terms of things like when you first load up an iPhone?  I know they have the option of emailing the terms to yourself but you have already agreed at that point even if you do end up reading the 100+ (app) pages of terms! 

Often called "clickwrap" there is the implication that you have read it if you click the button (in this case the "Continue" link.  

We, as everyday users, have to rely on the good will of the organisations that build the app.  What about the Face App (the one that creates an "older" version of people) which seems to have terms indicating they can store and use the data - even after you have long deleted the app -- and the developers are based in Russia?!  Eeek!  I got wrapped up in that too.  

If everyone had to create simple English terms which were agreed to it would make the app world a better place!

One of my gripes about the user experience of the Elite HRV app which is where the above Terms and Privacy Policy are from is the 'compatibility" which indicated that as a Samsung Note 8 user it would be compatible (assuming that was going to be using the camera on my phone to measure my heart rate... ) and yet when I was trying to get a reading wanted to connect to a Bluetooth... something!  (assume a heart rate monitor).  Their site needs to be clearer that Android devices maybe compatible with ANT+ and other heart rate monitors but you still need the heart rate monitor to work!