Mobile operators agree to new app privacy rules

Mobile World Congress: Europe’s biggest mobile operators, including Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone, have agreed new rules to protect consumers inadvertently divulging too much of their personal data when using apps.

Mobile Apps

The guidelines, devised by global telecoms body GSMA, aim to ensure user privacy is “respected and protected” by companies that build applications.

It follows an announcement last week that Google, Apple, Amazon, Research in Motion, HP and Microsoft, have agreed to new privacy guidelines that will prevent apps collecting data without prior consent from users.

The GSMA says it hopes other companies in the mobile ecosystem, such as advertisers and device makers, will follow the lead of mobile operators and agree to implement the guidelines.

Orange’s group director of marketing, Jean-Marie Culpin, says: “As more and more of our customers reap the benefits of what the digital age has to offer, Orange is here not only to provide these opportunities, but to support, guide and protect them on this journey of discovery.”

Concerns about app privacy have heightened in recent months after apps such as Hipster and Path admitted to obtaining users’ address books without prior consent and subsequently had to change their software.

A Sunday Times report earlier this month also claimed that Facebook had admitted to reading users’ text messages via its mobile app, although the social network responded to the allegations by saying that while it could read SMS data it would not do so.

The GSMA guidelines, published following a public consultation, include illustrative examples that intend to drive a more consistent approach to user privacy across mobile apps and encourage innovation in the development of privacy controls so that users fully understand and consent to elements of their personal data being shared.

The guidance states that all apps must clearly state the personal information it will access and whether it will be shared to third parties at the download stage.

It also says that social networking apps must be able to make it easy for users to completely remove all their data from their sites if they want to delete their accounts.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here