Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wireless Contracts and Security

After surfing the web for some news, I found this article on Security and the mobile phone industry. The RCR Wireless news article discussed the importance of security in the future of the cell phone market.

The article quoted a security adviser who feels that if security is not given enough attention then growth in the wireless industry will be stymied. The article also pointed out that software and applications used in the mobile phone industry are the most vulnerable to exploitation. Since we now use mobile devices for everything from booking flights to paying bills, we cannot overlook the importance of application security.

The article lead me to think about security as stated in wireless contracts. The existence of security policies or statements related to security may indicate if a carrier considers it as a priority. The presence of security measures or policies in wireless contracts or terms and conditions may also provide information and insight.

I scanned the wireless contracts published by major mobile phone networks on the Internet and found a couple of interesting statements. Here is a statement on security form AT&T's Terms and conditions:

AT&T DOES NOT GUARANTEE SECURITY. Data encryption is available with some, but not all, Services sold by AT&T. If you use your device to access company email or information, it is your responsibility to ensure your use complies with your company's internal IT and security procedures.
If you subscribe to AT&T then you should always keep in mind that your carrier does not guarantee security. You have to be careful with any sensitive information you send using mobile devices from AT&t because they are unsecured as stated in the wireless contracts.

The statement does indicate that some AT&T devices are equipped with data encryption so the company has made effort to provide security. However, customers still have to take responsibility for keeping important information safe.

Here is another wireless contract statement that involves security. T-Mobile's terms and conditions states that:
Wireless systems use radios to transmit communications over a complex network. We do not guarantee that your communications using the Service or Products will be private or secure, and we are not liable to you for any lack of privacy or security you may experience. You are responsible for taking precautions and providing security measures best suited for your situation and intended use of the Service.
This statement form the wireless contract of T-Mobile stresses the risk of transmitting important information on mobile devices. As with AT&T, T-Mobile will not be responsible for any security breach that users may experience when using their device. The customers have to take precautions to ensure that their personal information is kept safe.

These statements form the wireless contracts of two major wireless networks indicate that security in the mobile phone industry is not yet guaranteed. There are some efforts done towards data encryption and other security measures but customers still have the responsibility of protecting important information.

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