GSMA: privacy concerns could hamper mobile apps, video in Latin America

Gabriel Miramar-Garcia | 26-04-2013

Despite thirst for mobile video and other high value services, a lack of trust in how personal data is collected and shared is acting as a barrier to the widespread take-up of mobile apps in Latin America, a market that is globally worth $29 billion and growing at 36% per annum.

This is according to the GSMA, which studied 4,500 mobile users across Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, and found that consumers want better privacy safeguards to be put in place.
Overall, users believe that mobile operators are the natural guardians of their privacy on mobile devices. About 88% of mobile app users are concerned that apps might collect personal information without their consent; half of those consumers who have concerns would limit their use of apps unless better safeguards are put in place; and 60% of respondents would turn to their mobile operator if they suffered a serious invasion of privacy while using an app, regardless of who was responsible. Only 31% would turn to their app store, and 34% would go direct to the app developer.
Without taking action to protect consumer privacy, Latin America risks falling behind other parts of the world in the adoption of new mobile services. Mobile operators recognise the need to work closely with governments and wider industry to address these issues. They are calling on policymakers to increase their level of engagement with the mobile ecosystem as new consumer protection laws are being drafted, the GSMA found.
"It's not the case that legislators can simply cut and paste old-world data protection rules into the modern mobile apps market," said Tom Phillips, chief government and regulatory affairs officer at the GSMA. "They need to consider solutions that reflect the new market realities, such as the privacy icons currently being developed in the USA, which will provide consumers with simple ways to understand their privacy choices and control their data."