TRUSTe Announces First Wireless Privacy Standards to Protect Mobile Users

TRUSTe Teams with Industry Leaders Including AT&T Wireless, MMA and Microsoft to Form Wireless Advisory Committee

San Francisco, CA – February 18, 2004 - TRUSTe, the leading Internet privacy seal program, today announced the launch of its Wireless Privacy Principles and Implementation Guidelines which provide vendors serving the mobile market with actionable and practical guidelines for protecting consumer privacy. As part of this program, TRUSTe, along with leading partners AT&T Wireless and Microsoft, have formed the Wireless Advisory Committee whose function is to promote privacy standards to increase consumer use of advanced wireless features and applications.   Other members of the Wireless Advisory Committee include HP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Wireless Location Industry Association (WLIA) and consumer advocacy groups the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC).   New participants are committing to the next phase of the program, including wireless applications provider Kivera.   As wireless innovation has grown, so have the potential privacy issues impacting consumers. For example, Location Based Services, while limited in current availability, present a potential privacy challenge due to their ability to locate and market to consumers real-time via a wireless device, prior to receiving user consent. The Wireless Advisory Committee will work with companies providing wireless data and wireless web services, to ensure that specific standards regarding consumer notice and consumer consent are achieved. In the case of Location Based Services, vendors would be required to adhere to an "opt-in" only policy.  

"This is only the first, but most challenging phase, in launching a privacy program for the wireless medium to build trust with mobile users," said Fran Maier, executive director and president of TRUSTe.  "The roster of members in the Wireless Advisory Committee demonstrates the sense of urgency felt by wireless data and content providers as they attempt to tackle the privacy issue. TRUSTe is evolving in step with the overall privacy landscape, and our organization is well-positioned to collaborate with the wireless industry in its efforts to protect consumer privacy."

"AT&T Wireless helped initiate and lead this effort because we know consumers want strong privacy protections that are easy to understand" said Wally Hyer, chief privacy officer, AT&T Wireless.  "While AT&T Wireless already abides by a comprehensive privacy policy, we believe that a privacy seal program will help consumers more easily identify companies that put privacy first and help promote adoption of emerging wireless services."

Key Principles within the Wireless Privacy Principles and Implementation Guidelines include:

  • Notice: Wireless service providers should provide a Full Privacy Statement to the consumer prior to or during the collection of personally identifiable information, or upon first use of a service.

  • Third-party sharing: Wireless service providers should only disclose the consumer's personally identifiable information to a third party for uses unrelated to the provision of service (such as the marketing of new products and services) if the consumer has provided "opt-in" consent prior to such use. Consumers should have the opportunity to change this preference at any time.

  • Use of location-based information: Wireless service providers may only use location information for services other than those related to placing and receiving voice calls if consumers opt-in. Wireless service providers should disclose the fact that they retain location information, beyond the time reasonably needed to provide the requested service.

"Microsoft recognizes the vital role played by industry groups that are actively engaged in promoting privacy standards, and we remain committed to working with other industry leaders to put consumers in control of their personal information," said Peter Cullen, chief privacy strategist at Microsoft Corporation. "While the use of personal information to provide enhanced services and value to customers has been a common practice among businesses for decades, the convenience and ubiquity of wireless technology creates unique privacy considerations that we are pleased to be proactively addressing as a member of TRUSTe's Wireless Advisory Committee."

"These principles represent an important step toward assuring that the interest of individuals in the privacy of the information generated in their wireless communications is protected.  We hope that companies will adopt and adhere to these principles and we will be watching closely to determine their effectiveness for consumers," said Paula Bruening, staff counsel, Center for Democracy and Technology.

About TRUSTe
TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across their customer, employee, and vendor channels. Our SaaS-based DPM Platform gives users control over all phases of data privacy management from conducting assessments and implementing compliance controls to managing ongoing monitoring. Our DPM Services, including assessments and certifications, are delivered by an expert team of privacy professionals. Thousands of companies worldwide rely on TRUSTe to minimize compliance risk and protect their brand.