April 26, 2012, 2:44 PM

Mobile association seeks to ease privacy concerns

The MEF is focused on apps that collect personal data.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Lead Photo

The MEF, a global trade association for companies seeking to monetize products and services via mobile, is paying close attention to consumer concerns about mobile privacy. The association has introduced a Privacy in Mobile Applications Initiative at its Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C., to investigate ways to build consumer trust in mobile apps that collect personal data.

Goals of the initiative include: creating a standard framework for developers to define and communicate mobile app privacy policies, establishing best practices and practical tools on how to gain consumer consent to collect data, and creating a privacy rating system for apps that is displayed in app stores and marketplaces.

“Mobile applications can use consumer data such as user location and address books to create great consumer value, but raise privacy concerns which we must address as an industry,” says MEF global chair Andrew Bud. “Transparency and informed consent are key to consumer trust. MEF’s Privacy in Mobile Applications Initiative will ensure both a holistic view is taken and practical tools delivered.”

The privacy group says it will rely on the MEF’s members to help it establish industry wide practices and tools surrounding informed consent, accountability and consumer trust.

Mobile marketing and technology companies including Impact Mobile, InMobi, mBlox, SNR Denton and Vodafone are part of the initiative and MEF says it plans to soon announce more members.

“Handled appropriately, customer data can power apps that make for a great mobile experience,” says Hemant Madan, head of developer marketing for Vodafone. “The development of apps that respect privacy can be best accomplished when participants across the application industry work together to develop common standards.”

Organizations including the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Reserve Board, Future of Privacy Forum, KPMG, Truste and Turner Broadcasting attended the MEF Privacy Summit.

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