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Strategy VP says Orange is on mission to become a ‘privacy champion’

Orange logo on building

Catching up with Orange at Mobile World Congress 2015, the French telco’s Group Strategy and Business development VP Daniel Gurrola told Telecoms.com the firm is on a mission to become a ‘privacy champion’ for mobile users.

“Last year the industry, I mean the GSMA, articulated the Vision 2020 where operators were called to be trusted partners. We at Orange embraced that very seriously and our CEO has taken even further steps in this space. This trusted partner we understand it to be a very wide, wide area, but I think it’s becoming much more relevant as we enter more more digital age where people are sort of confused about who to trust with their data, what is done with people’s data information. But also how do you identify people, how do you certified someone is called he or she they tell they are. At moment we’re talking about people but very soon the same debate is go to go to machines.”

According to Gurrola, Orange is taking many steps to become this kind of said trusted partner, apparently including its Mobile Connect application that is designed for person authentication within apps in the same way as is possible with a Facebook or Google account information.

But what will be different with Mobile Connect is that with it a data exchange doesn’t take place.  Gurrola says an incredible amount of personal data is being collected and exchanged between apps and OTT service providers. “What we want to do in this [data privacy] space, and Mobile Connect is one of them, is that actually there is no exchange of information. So you can authenticate yourself using your mobile number but there is no exchange. Or if there is, it’s going to be very explicit what attributes you are changing and for what purpose.”

Although Orange is keen to take lead in advocating increased data privacy for mobile users, Gurrola said for the initiative to become viable it is important to get as many operators on board as possible. “Orange is working with the GSMA and you obviously need as many operators to be part of this as possible. Our plan is by [the end of] 2015 we will deploy Mobile Connect across all our European operations, and we have plans to do that. I can say that we are on rack to deploy this.”

Gurrola says the whole mobile data privacy issue and the concept of becoming a ‘trusted partner’ is a much wider issue, and Mobile Connect is just one sign of the direction the French operator wants to take. “I would view Mobile Connect as one small part of this whole trusted partner concept- it’s not the only thing.

“But we believe that there’s a significant role that we can take in this space as educators, us trying to educate and bring that transparency to people. It is important for Orange to establish ourselves as a champion of trust.”

The idea is that the Mobile Connect tab will exist alongside social media and other apps on numerous sites where login is required. It remains to be seen how this will take off but whether it will be a success is likely to largely come down to how well its marketing is executed.

Telecoms.com’s coverage of Mobile World Congress 2015 is sponsored by NEC.

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