Sprint to release mobile advertising policy

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NEW ORLEANS--Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) plans to introduce a new mobile advertising privacy policy that it will distribute to all new subscribers, allowing them to opt-out of services they don't want. The effort is an attempt by the carrier to reassure customers that their data is safe and secure with Sprint.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse

       Dan Hesse

"We need to educate consumers," explained Sprint CEO Dan Hesse during a keynote appearance here at the CTIA Wireless trade show. "We must ensure customers are fully informed of our data collection practices."

Hesse did not provide specifics of the new effort, including when it will go into effect and exactly how customers can view and modify their privacy setting and personal data. However, he explained that the issue of the safety, security and privacy of users' online data is growing increasingly important, and that telecom players like Sprint need to get out in front of the issue.

Hesse also said an independent third party, which he did not name, would audit Sprint on its new policy to confirm the carrier follows through on its promises.

"As an industry, we've got to work together to get this right," he said.

Hesse's comments are notable in light of increasing scrutiny into the privacy space, both online and in mobile. Indeed, members of Congress have become involved in a number of privacy dustups, including the recent brouhaha involving potential user tracking by Carrier IQ software. Thus, Hesse's position appears to be an attempt to stem further investigations into the area, and to endear Sprint to its users by being open on the topic.

This isn't the first social and political issue to be embraced by Hesse during his tenure as CEO of Sprint. He has previously called for stricter guidelines on driving while using cell phones and for the industry to make more use of renewable and reusable materials.

For more:
- see this Sprint release
- see this AP article

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