Guideline 9 (Developers and their plugins must not do anything illegal, dishonest, or morally offensive.) has been amended to include the following new prohibition:
- implying that a plugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party can create, provide, automate, or guarantee legal compliance
While the vast majority of plugins will never run into this issue, we want to explain why this change is necessary.
Over the years, by accident or intent, some developers have claimed their plugins can provide legal compliance, sometimes automatically, across various aspects of site administration. These areas have included security (e.g. FIOS, PCI/DSS), cookies and tracking (i.e. the “EU Cookie Law”), online shopping (VAT), privacy (GDPR), accessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility) (ADA), copyright, and more.
Sadly, no plugin in and of itself can provide legal compliance. While a plugin can certainly assist in automating the steps on a compliance journey, or allow you to develop a workflow to solve the situation, they cannot protect a site administrator from mistakes or lack of compliance, nor can they protect site users from incorrect or incomplete legal compliance on the part of the web site.
In short, plugins are helpful tools along the legal compliance journey, but should never be presented as a solution, nor should they give users a false sense of security.
Because of that, going forward we will be attempting to prevent these types of claims in all plugins. These issues will be handled in the same way we try to make sure that people don’t use ‘official plugin’ without actually being official.
Plugins that are are currently at odds with this change, either by accident or intent, will be notified shortly and required to change their titles, descriptions, and/or readmes.
ETA: I made the FAQ public early to hopefully help you with any questions!