Social media, the Internet and privacy were big issues in 2010, with heated Facebook and WikiLeaks debates erupting more regularly than that geyser thing in Wyoming. While those sandbox fights are so last year, don’t expect the privacy debate to go anywhere anytime soon. The latest privacy battle is heating up and it’s all your smartphone’s fault.
Every good battle needs a first shot fired, and the mobile marketing vs. privacy war started with a bang, as well. Apple was struck with a nasty class action suit that not only made headlines but also opened a big old can of worms. The suit, filed on December 23, claims that Apple and several big-shot OS developers have allowed apps developed for iPad and iPhone to transmit user’s personal information to advertisers and marketers. While theories that smartphone apps are simply just more insidious ways for marketers to creep into our brains have been floating about for years, the lawsuit draws a definitive line in the sand and isn’t afraid to call out the names of the alleged bad guys. The Weather Channel, Pandora, TextPlus and Dictonary.com also are named in the lawsuit. Apple and the other brands don’t seem to be shaking in their boots, but mobile marketers are already making moves to save the industry’s face.
The Mobile Marketing Agency (MMA) took the offensive this week by introducing privacy guidelines specially designed for the industry. MMA has asked its members to join in the privacy effort just in time for the upcoming Florida conference, entitled the Consumer Best Practices Meeting. While it is nice to see the industry jumping in to correct matters, we have to ask”¦ Is all of this necessary?
And the answer is yes. As we have seen, nipping the privacy pest in the bud before it destroys consumer loyalty is a must. As smartphones become mechanical members of our families, knowing how much we can trust them and who they talk to when we’re not around is a fight that has only just begun.