March 11th, 2014

GSMA seminar on Privacy, Thursday 27th February, MWC.

The Panel was composed of Privacy Officers from operators, entrepreneurs and a GSMA representative. The seminar started with a general introduction on the importance of Privacy by a GSMA representative, Pat Walsh. Some interesting numbers were outlined from a survey GSMA conducted on 11 500 users of mobiles and tablets based across the world (UK, Spain, Singapore…):

  • 83% of users are concerned about Privacy.
  • 82% want to know which information is collected and when.
  • 75% would prefer an icon based privacy system over text.

Throughout the seminar, panelists shared the issues they saw as important and how they were trying to tackle them.

Issues pointed out:

  • Lack of uniformity on level of strictness imposed on different players to obey national laws whether you fall into the category of Mobile operator or Global company.
  • Users believe that the Mobile Operator can protect their privacy although this is mostly false.
  • Lack of transparency, choice and control for users.
  • Privacy issues can cause the rating for a mobile app to decrease
  • Proliferation of guidelines creating confusion.
  • Users have concerns around mobile:1. Control over personal device 2. Trusted software and services 3. Secured Communication 4.Transparent hardware.

Solutions offered:

  • Educate users on privacy matters.
  • Be transparent on data collection and usage.
  • Design privacy-sensitive patterns at architectural level of software development.
  • User should always give consent for his/her data to be used, even when data is anonymized.
  • Permission of one piece of data to be used could be limited by specific context and not fall under all purposes. eg: location data to be used to give me nearest metro station but not to be used as part of a survey on who passes through this train station.
  • Give clearer privacy control to user from the handset by: 1.Set-up wizard specifically for Privacy that is played the first time a phone is used (wizard can be retaken anytime). Set-up should include text and graphics. Eg of features included: possibility to have a location blur, guest mode for friends usage, direct access to summary of Privacy settings

A third of the seminar was focused on Location data. Rand Hindi from Snips as well as other entrepreneurs gave an overview of the possibilities provided by the analysis of location data. It was noted that although location data wasn’t considered particularly valuable by users a few years ago, it has gradually become viewed as personal information in the last years. Two uses for location data analysis were outlined:

  • Predictions: From anonymized data, prediction can be accurate to up to 95%. http://snips.net/
  • Communication between users and retailers/ proximal identity: Retailers can track Mac Ids within stores. The Future of Privacy Forum is currently trying to regulate this use through a Smart Store Privacy Code http://smartstoreprivacy.org/

What do we think?

GG identified Privacy as a key trend for 2014 and we strongly recommend app developers to consider Privacy from the outset. Ensure there are no elements of data capture which could make users uncomfortable or be in breach of privacy regulations.

 

Tags: Mobility Strategy privacy

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