This past Saturday at a conference organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing Harsha de Silva chaired a session with Hans Wijayasuriya of Dialog Telekom, Rohan Samarajiva of LIRNEasia and Keith Modder of Virtusa that addressed issues such as this. One point that ran through the discussion was the need for companies to develop self-regulation to safeguard the trust of their customers.
“We know who you are, but also where you are,” said the CEO of China Mobile Communications Corporation, Wang Jianzhou, whose company adds six million new customers to its network each month and is already the biggest mobile group in the world by users.
He was explaining how the company could use the personal data of its customers to sell advertising and services to them based on knowledge of where they were and what they were doing.
When pressed about the privacy and security implications of this, he added: “We can access the information and see where someone is, but we never give this information away … only if the security authorities ask for it.”
The movement of mobile phone users can be tracked because they connect to local base stations, giving a trail that can only be accessed in most democratic countries by security officials under strict conditions.
Mobile phones can also be easily tapped.
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