I am a team lead in a company located in Manila, and I am currently writing an app that has a seriously questionable feature request for its Android users -- which is to secretly record its surroundings using the phone camera. When I asked the CEO why we have to write this feature, I am told that it would achieve user safety and it would give cops leverage by way of investigation in case something in the videos can be used as evidence.
Having this feature is impossible for iOS users, so that leaves Android. This, of course, could place the company under serious fire for invading users' privacy when we get found out. In fact, as far as my country's laws go, it not only illegal, it is unconstitutional. This argument fell on my CEO's deaf ears, citing the legalistic "terms of service" that users would be made to agree upon, and he pointed out in jest that I should not question his business ideas.
Developing this feature is also problematic from a development standpoint. Operating the camera from the background would put too much toll on the phone's battery. Uploading the videos would also be vampiric on the user's internet connection. Lastly, it is impossible to do on iOs.
While the entire development team agrees with my assessment and is just as uncomfortable with the feature request as I am, the product owner explains to me that while the feature is truly useless, it still has to be made so as to attract investors. And it did please the investors based on the last meeting with them.
My team has thus far insisted that Apple does not allow its developers to run the camera in the background and that we have agreed that instead of a video recording, we would instead take pictures every ten seconds. But I am a hardliner about this and I do not want us developing anything close to this feature.
As this feature is definitely "marketing-driven" as the product owner suggests, I want to know counter-arguments from an investor's standpoint so that the feature would be scrapped in its entirety.
In general, how do I become diplomatic about this matter? I believe I can still talk some sense into the CEO. I have no qualms leaving this company on account of the poor management but I love my dev team, their superior skills, and the workplace culture that we have cultivated. As much as I would want to use our value to the company as leverage against the CEO--If you insist that we do this feature, we will leave--I wish to be charitable still.