GSMA Initiative Reinforces European Mobile Operators’ Commitment to Consumer Privacy

GSMA Initiative Reinforces European Mobile Operators’ Commitment to Consumer Privacy

Launched on European Privacy Day, New Accountability Measures Aim to Enhance User Confidence in Mobile Apps

Brussels: To mark European Privacy Day1, the GSMA is announcing new mobile industry commitments to reinforce privacy protection for mobile app users. Building on the success of the GSMA’s Privacy Design Guidelines2 published last year, a number of European mobile operators are participating in a new initiative that ensures the effective and consistent implementation of these Guidelines and holds operators directly accountable for securing the privacy of all customers who use theirown-branded mobile apps.

By signing up to an Accountability Framework, a new tool published today and with the potential for application across the mobile ecosystem, GSMA members can now formally commit to ensuring their business practices are compliant with the Guidelines. The core elements of the Framework include:

  • Organisational commitment: confirming senior management buy-in and appropriate delegation to ensure the Guidelines are implemented consistently across an organisation’s operations;
  • Internal programme controls: including staff guidance on practical application of the Guidelines and systems for customers to report privacy-related complaints and incidents; and
  • Enforcement for noncompliant organisations: ongoing noncompliance or serious breaches will lead to appropriate sanctions.

“The GSMA and its members were the first to address the ongoing challenges of mobile app privacy through our Guidelines last year,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA. “Now, we continue to lead in this space by introducing this Framework – a direct response to calls for greater responsibility and accountability in the area of app privacy. If adopted across the mobile ecosystem, these Guidelines and Framework would help ensure consistent and comprehensive levels of protection for consumers across multiple platforms.”

Since the publication of the Guidelines, a number of European mobile operators have begun to implement them for their own-branded mobile apps, including Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, Telenor, TeliaSonera and Vodafone. The Guidelines are already influencing thinking and policy in different regions around the world.3

“The Framework and Guidelines will help us, as well as the developer community, to create exciting applications and provide greater transparency and security with mobile apps,” commented Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Telekom Austria Group. “This is especially important for social networks and cloud services where we observe a growing concern among users regarding their personal data. Our own apps have a very high level of privacy and we take the protection of personal data of our customers extremely seriously.”

“The GSMA’s mobile privacy Guidelines are the most comprehensive attempt to date to embed the principle of privacy-by-design in the creation and development of mobile applications,” said Stephen Deadman, Group Privacy Officer for Vodafone. “Accountability forms an essential element in Vodafone’s privacy programme, and in ensuring privacy-by-design in our app development process. These principles will help companies across the ecosystem create the internal governance and assurance processes to ensure the guidelines are effectively implemented and deliver better privacy experiences for mobile users in practice.”

Phillips continued: “App privacy will remain an important public policy issue for the foreseeable future. This is shown by the intention of the EU Article 29 Working Party to issue an opinion on mobile app privacy in February 2013 and by EU Commissioner Reding’s express reference to the importance of app privacy in her speech4 last month. The GSMA will continue to reach out and work with diverse stakeholders to advance app privacy in the interests of safeguarding the confidence and trust of mobile users.”

To view the Accountability Framework, please follow this link:

Notes to Editors

1On January 28, the world celebrates Privacy Day which recognises the importance of privacy for human values and fundamental freedoms. European Privacy Day 2013 highlights the value of privacy and data protection in European societies and engages citizens in privacy relevant activities. Find out more at

2The GSMA Privacy Design Guidelines for Mobile Application Development were published in February 2012:

3The GSMA Guidelines are referenced in a number of important, international contexts including:


About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries and territories, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with more than 230 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo. 

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at or Mobile World Live, the online portal for the mobile communications industry, at

Media Contacts:

For the GSMA:
Sabina Gockel (Brussels)
T: +32 (0)487 635 145
E: [email protected]

GSMA Press Office
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