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Customer data: maximising its uses, avoiding its abuses

In fact, as if to underline the point, today comes news of more scuffles over data privacy in the European Parliament. Reports say that the Socialist and Democrat members on the committee on legal affairs have strongly opposed a draft proposal (sorry, keep up) to let companies off having to seek explicit prior consent for the use of personal data. The legislation now moves on to the Parliament's civil liberties committee.

This sort of thing gets the left's blood up. Being Europe there is more than a tinge of good old-fashioned anti-US imperialism (instead of General Motors or Standard Oil, today's multi-national villains are our old friends Google and Facebook).

The left groups say they want to protect citizens from any form of discrimination resulting from data-mining and profiling, and to heavily penalise companies in cases of abuse or leakage of personal data.

On the 'right', however, there is a significant pro-business, pro-intellectual property protection group. Here the ownership and control of technology is all important, as is (apparently) the right to wield it to do whatever the citizens will let you get away with.

As the arguments rage and positions become clearer, the 'left' position inevitably extends to the idea of private data ownership and the conviction that if anyone is to make money from personal data (by selling it on for targetted advertising, for instance) then it should be the private person concerned, not some 3rd party listening in (like a carrier, for instance).

Essentially, the traditional left/right political polarity has simply transformed for the online world - from trade union v. shareholder, to what might be described as 'individual data rights' v. corporate intellectual property rights.

I make the point about the political polarity because it means that there's an inevitability here. The left will win in the long run and will get its safeguards and private data ownership rights as more privacy breaches occur and more examples of data abuse come to light.. it's just a matter of time.

In that context, then, view our carrier data interviews from MWC. Lots of plans to capture customer information and yes, when asked all will say that the 'opt in' must be applied. But you still get the feeling (we would suggest) that in some interviews (not all) there's a slight deficit when it comes to understanding and respecting data privacy, not so much for where it is now, but for where it is almost certainly going in the near future.VIDEO:Actionable insight for the frontline troops

Mobile telco customer data is too often back-office-centric: all statistics and data points. If operators really want to boost customer loyalty, then they need to arm their data centre staff with what Timo Ahomaki, CTO of Tecnotree, calls actionable insights - simple instructions on how to handle specific customers and, where applicable, make them offers they won't refuse. Timo tells Martyn Warwick that call centre representatives usually have 1 to 2 minutes with a customer - not enough time to sit about analysing needs and motivations. Bringing in basic information is the answer.VIDEO:Assessing the consumer experience: don't give us data, give us intelligence

Martyn Warwick talks with Larry Lenhart, President and CEO of CarrierIQ on the consumer experience and how carriers can enhance it by gathering data from the smartphone to form a picture from the 'outside in' - from the service consumer's perspective, rather than from the inside out (carrier's perspective).VIDEO:What's happening on the LTE device?

Sergio Silvestre, VP for New Markets and Global Marketing and Alliances for WeDo technologies, talks to Martyn Warwick about the migration to LTE and the accompanying flow of intelligence from the centre of the network to the phone. Sergio claims WeDo helps operators to understand what's happening on the phone with its patented technology.

VIDEO:Collecting the usage data the telco can´t

Increasing use of WiFi and apps means that a huge proportion of a user´s activity goes unrecorded by the telco. This blind spot is not only pain for the telco but it isn´t even trapped for the user to see how much data he or she is using, or how often they´re visiting Facebook. Nigel Pollard, VP, EMEA Sales, Mobidia, explains it all to Ian Scales.

VIDEO: Using DPI to attack the incumbent

Hendrick Schulze, President and CTO of Ipoque talks to Martyn Warwick about using deep packet inspection techniques to manage traffic and collect statistics about aggregate user behaviour. For Ipoque what Hendrick calls the 'challenger' operators are the key target - telcos looking to find new angles and competitive services to attack the incumbent operator and win market share.

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