Cross‐border use of WhatsApp, Pandora, and Grindr: on global norms and how to enforce these when there can be everywhere
Smart phones and tablets are becoming the main devices for accessing internet, and will outnumber the world population in 2016. Mobile Devices contain photos, contacts, unique identifiers, payment data, logs, etc., and are used everywhere, including abroad. apps process user information, including the user’s locality to offer dedicated services and advertisements, and may turn on cameras and microphones. Most users lack awareness of what apps do, what data are used, and what norms apply. Mobility complicates norm application. Global use, on a global infrastructure does not match well with local, national law. The quadruplet contracting, security, privacy and advertisements are interconnected, form the future landscape of internet services, and asks for a coherent analysis.This paper briefly discusses the norms concerning contracting, privacy, advertisements, and security applicable to smart devices. The core of the paper is the discussion of three cases to illustrate the complexity of the mobility of the smart devices, in particular when used abroad. First the communication program WhatsApp, followed by the music app Pandora, and finally the dating app Grindr. The difficulties of application and enforcement of norms on the internet severely increases now the devices providing internet connections are seamlessly taken from one country to another, and are always in the proximity of their users: always connected, always available. This paper does not offer answers, but asks questions that need attention and hopefully can be answered sometime in the future.