a group of people looking at their phone in the train

Mobile operators need to tighten up their regulatory practices if they want to gain the trust of consumers. Source: Shutterstock

Mobile operators key for building trust in a digital world

IN a digital world, most people have some amount of personal data recorded online. After it surfaced that Cambridge Analytica misused data obtained from Facebook, users are increasingly more concerned about the privacy and security of their data.

Moving forward, mobile operators will play a key role in ensuring that digital identities are held more securely. And that starts with gaining back the trust of the consumer.

In general, mobile operators apply high standards of privacy, data protection, and security to customers’ data. However, the lack of a legal framework can lead to users having a skewed perception of how operators are using data.

This leads to people being less willing to access identity-linked services using mobile devices.

According to research by the GSM Association (GSMA), a digital identity system must have a foundation of trust to gain the acceptance of users.

That so-called “trust framework” isn’t coming purely from general laws imposed by the government; consumers expect it from the operators as well.

On top of sector-specific data and privacy laws, mobile operators should also have private rules in place, including a clear specification of ID schemes, and a robust set of standards and procedures.

Implementing these rules won’t be a solo effort, but rather an industry initiative; it will require companies to take part and adhere to contracts and industry-led schemes.

GSMA noted that digital identity should be a shared goal for countries in the Asia Pacific. The trade association suggested that mobile operators across the region must work together on harmonizing regulatory frameworks or systems for digital IDs.

A successful implementation not only enhances trust in the overall online system but also helps introduce seamless ways of traveling. Consumers and businesses will benefit from an integrated framework as it will remove barriers between countries.

Governments will also benefit from these initiatives as a strong framework allows for more secure cross-border data flows.

Organisations can also better address the challenges of cyber attacks, which affect digital commerce between countries and overall trade.

“When governments develop a national strategy underpinned by an enabling policy environment, the prospects are much better for mobile-enabled, digital identity services to accelerate a country’s digital transformation, support digital and financial inclusion, and offer the benefits of convenience and reach,” GSMA wrote in the report.