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Mobile content firms push for consumer privacy

Privacy rating system to be developed for mobile applications sold in app stores

The mobile content industry has signed up to a new privacy framework that is designed to protect consumers.

MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, has launched its Privacy in Mobile Applications Initiative, with the goal of helping the global mobile industry build consumer trust when interacting with mobile apps that collect their data.

The initiative has been backed by industry stakeholders, including founding members Vodafone, SNR Denton, Impact Mobile, InMobi and mBlox.

The standard aims to create a framework for developers to define and communicate mobile app privacy policies, establish best practices and provide practical tools that comply with consumer consent.

It also hopes to develop a "robust" privacy rating system for mobile applications sold through app stores and other channels.

Andrew Bud, MEF global chair, said: "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."

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

Earlier this month the European Commission called for opinions on how to regulate wirelessly connected devices, as legal experts say the current Data Protection Directive is not up to the job. Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has launched a public consultation on the so-called "internet of things" to try to find the right balance between privacy and convenience.

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