Javier Alonso Lecuit
Public Policy Manager
GSMA has recently launched the report “Safety, privacy and security across the mobile ecosystem” to explain the major challenges around these issues in the mobile world, highlighting the complexities and demonstrating the industry initiatives and actions which are already taking place.
This report has been delivered by the GSMA Security Advocacy Task Force where Telefónica is actively involved.
In all the regions there is an increase in threats to national security, public safety and individual privacy. In this context, mobile network operators face an ongoing challenge to provide safer and more secure mobile services for their consumers, while meeting their obligations to protect public safety.
With the economic and social growth of the Internet, there is a corresponding need to protect consumers using these services. Much work is ongoing within the GSMA to address issues of privacy and security and to promote the safe and beneficial use of mobile services and applications.
The industry, supported by the GSMA, has been highly active in programmes to enhance consumers and businesses awareness on how to safely use mobile technologies and applications. New features, such as encryption and user identification validation have made mobile services increasingly secure and minimised the potential threats for fraud, identity theft, etc.
The mobile industry has also made substantial technical and financial efforts to enable safe and secure use of its services, while also protecting the privacy of its customers.
Governments and policymakers want to prevent security incidents and protect their citizens. In such an environment, there are complex trade-offs between protecting the security of individual communications and law enforcement agencies needing at times to intercept certain communications.
Mobile network operators face additional challenges: they are in the front line when governments seek to challenge global internet companies over which they have little or no influence, and they are sometimes required to keep silent regarding such activity, despite wishing to be transparent with consumers who have placed their trust in them.
The report concludes with a set of principles to guide mobile operator actions in protecting consumers and securing mobile communication networks. It also makes a call to policymakers and regulators to take a broad view of the issues at stake, in order to contribute for developing appropriate, proportionate and transparent policy frameworks based on multi-stakeholder solutions that best protect the overall interests of consumers, businesses and civic societies.
GSMA infers that stakeholders must work more closely together – globally and at a national level – in order to ensure the most effective response as far as unilateral actions are not as effective as a co-ordinated approach.