Privacy as a priority in mobile advertising

Privacy is always a priority topic for discussion in technology circles, and only the other week we saw Google summoned to appear before European data protection officials regarding their privacy policy.

As InMobi has developed in size and stature – particularly over the past year, we have also grown in sophistication through continuing to evolve and improve the services that support the smooth running of our ad network. A significant part of this has been in achieving external recognition for our efforts to be transparent and open in our business and building a reputation as a company that treats its customers’ data privacy with care.

In January we were proud to be awarded the TRUSTe Privacy Seal – recognized and trusted by millions of consumers worldwide as a sign of responsible privacy practices.

In addition to this, last month we gained a Privacy Fix ‘Comfort’ rating – the highest level available. Privacy Fix (also known as Privacy Choice) are independent specialists in compliance and the company monitors a comprehensive database of over 450 advertising and data companies in terms of their privacy policies and opt-out-opt-in processes.

Privacy Fix use this information to advise their users whether they should approach working with these companies with ‘Concern,’ ‘Caution,’ or ‘Comfort.’

This is just one measure we are taking to ensure our users can have full confidence in their interactions with our network.

Privacy is a complex and crucial consideration for us as an ad network: we sit between app developer and publishers on one side, and advertisers on the other. Advertisers understandably want as much detail as possible to make sure their campaign is seen by their targets.

However, there needs to be respect in how that information is collected: is it anonymous, non-personal and aggregated? Are users aware of what information they are sharing and are they able to control that? These are some of the ideas that were explored at the MEF Breakfast Briefing at Mobile World Congress last week.

The MEF Global Privacy Survey 2013 was released at MWC and, among other things, its findings show that only a third of consumers are comfortable sharing personal data with an app on their phone but that only 18% lack confidence in the protection of their personal information.

This is in some ways encouraging as it shows that while many might be reluctant to share data they trust the companies that they choose to engage with. At InMobi we hope to maintain both a high level of consumer trust along with a key role in the open and continuing dialog surrounding digital privacy.

Chris Davies is General Counsel and Head of Privacy at InMobi and EMEA Board Director at MEF.

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