GSMA publishes mobile privacy principles

Monday, 31 January 2011 00:42 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The GSMA last week announced the publication of its Mobile Privacy Principles. The principles describe the way in which mobile consumers’ privacy should be respected and protected when consumers use mobile applications and services that access, use or collect their personal information.

The principles are the result of close collaboration by leading mobile operators and input from other players in the wider mobile eco-system.

“Online privacy is an important and high-profile issue across the globe,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “In many regions of the world, consumers’ first internet experience will be via mobile and we believe it is right to address mobile privacy challenges early to ensure the protection of consumers’ privacy. We warmly welcome stakeholders from the broader ICT industry to join us in conversation and partnership on this work.”

The Mobile Privacy Principles will be used to develop more detailed guidelines and codes of conduct to address specific consumer concerns such as the use of private data or location details by applications. They pave the way for the development of clear and simple ways for customers to manage their information and their privacy on mobile phones. The key challenge is to find new mobile-friendly methods to help consumers make informed decisions about their privacy.

One key principle relates to ‘transparency and notice,’ which is about being open and honest with customers about what personal information is being collected and why. The principles also cover issues such as the need to provide consumers with control over how their personal information is used and by whom, and ensuring only a minimum amount of data for a given service is collected and that it is retained no longer than necessary.

The GSMA is examining these issues in depth and reaching out to broader industry stakeholders to establish a broad consensus on how to ensure consumers’ privacy is treated more consistently across mobile applications and across platforms and services whilst continuing to support innovation.

Phillips continued: “The Mobile Privacy Principles are a significant first step but addressing mobile privacy is an ongoing challenge that requires the support and collaboration of the wider internet industry, civil society and regulators, working together, if we are to deliver real protection for consumers. This is a call to action to the broader industry.”