Widener University School of Law graduate, Managing Legal Editor at TermsFeed.
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A chatbot is a computer program that mimics chatting with a real person.
If you have an iPhone and use Siri, you're using a chatbot. Cortana with Windows is another popular chatbot you may be familiar with.
Chatbots can also be used in mobile apps and games to simulate real conversation, in commerce apps to help you buy goods or services, and to do things like book a doctor's appointment, hail a taxi or order takeout.
SMS chatbots like Magic make it possible to do a ton of different things just by texting the chatbot, such as booking a plane ticket or getting groceries delivered to your home or office.
Chatbots are even popping up in our homes as with Amazon's Echo with Alexa Skills to do things like turn on your lights and other automated tasks.
In the future, chatbots are expected to be used far more regularly and with a wider range of abilities and uses.
First let's look at the legal requirements if your chatbot collects personal information.
Personal information includes any information that can be used to identify a user such as a birth date, email address, first or last name, home address, IP address, and other pieces of data.
At Step 1, select the Website option or App option or both.
Answer some questions about your website or app.
Answer some questions about your business.
Because of the global nature of the internet and most chatbot platforms, it's very likely that a user in the state of California may use your chatbot.
In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is a federal law that dictates how businesses in the private sector must handle personal information of its users.
Among the requirements of PIPEDA is that businesses must let users know what personal information is going to be collected, and why it's going to be collected.
Australia's Privacy Act
Australia has their thirteen Privacy Principles that regulate how personal information is handled.
EU Privacy Directives
- In the EU, the Data Protective Directive and the ePrivacy Directive
- In the UK, the DPA Act
Here are a few of the more common and popular platforms with chatbots and their requirements for Privacy Policies.
Microsoft Dev Framework
Microsoft has a Bot Framework in its "Developer Tools" that allows you to "build and deploy high quality bots for your users to enjoy wherever they are talking."
The Microsoft Bot Framework includes a Bot Builder SDK, a Bot Connector, Developer Portal, Bot Directory, and an emulator to test your bot.
When you use the Microsoft Bot Framework to create your chatbot, you're going to be subject to the "Microsoft Bot Framework Preview Online Services Agreement".
In early 2016, Facebook introduced a Bots for Messenger platform that allows developers to create chatbots that connect with end users via the Facebook Messenger application.
Developers who work within the Facebook platform must adhere to the Facebook Platform Policy.
Here is a screenshot of Facebook's Platform Policy:
Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool that a lot of organizations and companies use for projects. It allows bots to be created and used, and includes lists of available bots and "Brilliant Bots."