Windows Store Privacy Statement

On the eve of the Windows 8 launch I am quickly trying to update and resubmit my MDown app to the Windows Store. Even as a Microsoft Evangelist I ran into a common problem while submitting my own app to the store which is the dreaded “missing privacy statement”. This may be the shortest and most important post I will write about submitting Windows Store Apps so if you learn from my simple oversight you will save yourself a little bit of frustration.

One of the best features of the Windows Store app submission process is how clear and transparent it is. At every step of the way you are guided through what to do next or what you are waiting on. After I got my email saying that my app failed certification I logged in and was immediately greeted with a status message on my summary page.

When I look at the details it clearly explains how I forgot to add a privacy policy since my app accesses the network.

Here is the exact note:

“The app has declared access to network capabilities and no privacy statement was provided in the Description page. The app has declared access to network capabilities and no privacy statement was provided in the Windows Settings Charm.”

The sad part is that this is so easy to fix. First you will need to create a new HTML file, I called mine “privacy.html”, and it lives my pages/settings directory.

From here you will need to add some HTML to your new file. I got this text from Keith Peters, who in turn also failed to pass certification due to a missing privacy policy. He found this online and if your app is doing serious things, you could consult someone such as a lawyer on what your privacy policy should say. My app doesn’t do anything with its internet connection so I am comfortable with the following text but I assume no responsibility if you end up sticking it in your app as is. Here is the template:

< !doctype HTML>
<html>
<head>
    <title>App settings flyout</title>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="/js/settings.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
    <!-- BEGINSETTINGSFLYOUT -->
    <div data-win-control="WinJS.UI.SettingsFlyout"
       " id="privacyPolicy"
        data-win-options="{settingsCommandId:'privacyPolicy', width:'narrow'}">
 
        <div class="win-ui-dark win-header">
            <button type="button" onclick="WinJS.UI.SettingsFlyout.show()" class="win-backbutton"></button>
            <div class="win-label">Privacy Policy</div>
        </div>
        <div class="win-content">
            <p>This application does not share personal information with third parties nor does it store any information about you.</p>
            <p>This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on [INSERT DATE]. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly at <a href="mailto:[INSERT EMAIL ADDRESS]">[INSERT EMAIL ADDRESS]</a>.</p>
        </div>
    </div>
    <!-- ENDSETTINGSFLYOUT -->
</body>
</html>

Now you just need a quick way to add this to your app. Add the following code in your default.js file inside of the activated event listener:

WinJS.Application.onsettings = function (e) {
    e.detail.applicationcommands = { "privacyPolicy": { title: "Privacy Policy", href: "/pages/settings/privacy.html" } };
    WinJS.UI.SettingsFlyout.populateSettings(e);
};

Now when you run the app, you will see a new Privacy Policy option in the settings charm.

And when you click on it you will see the privacy policy text we added to our privacy.html.

Now that I have added my privacy policy to my app I simply had to resubmit it through the Windows Store dashboard. I love that Visual Studio automates the entire process and even auto increments the version numbers for you.

As you can see these two steps, adding a privacy html file and linking it up to the settings flyout, was all we needed to do in order to satisfy this critical step for getting an app approved. The last thing you need to make sure you do is supply a url to a html page (hosted on your site) with the same privacy policy in your app’s description.

Hope you find this helpful and a big thanks to Keith who was nice enough to send me his privacy policy example I used here. You can read about his own submission issues and how he resolved them here.

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