The way I see it, there are three key players when it comes to mobile data privacy and security: the OS manufacturers (Google, Apple, Microsoft); mobile app developers; and the device users themselves. Each party has a role to play but they are not equally responsible or capable of having a significant impact.
Why is this important? For one thing, smartphones are just that -- smart. With access to limitless apps, the Internet, social media, GPS, video camera, a microphone, and more -- today's mobile devices have made life much more efficient and convenient, but also less secure. With this convenience comes a responsibility to protect private user data contained on, as well as transmitted to and from the device. But where does the bulk of the responsibility fall? Let's discuss.
Manufacturers: innovation, patches, and transparency
When Apple and Google released the first smartphones back in 2007 and 2008, both companies knew that security was important and they added more security-focused functionality with each successive release. Yet, despite a continual focus on locking down the OS, in the intervening years, many exploits have been discovered and many more are sure to follow.
Late in 2013, we reached a tipping point on a global scale when smartphone shipments surpassed those of feature phones. At around the same time, we experienced two major exploits: Master Key for Android and GoToFail for Apple, both which shook the confidence of the software industry, particularly those responsible for the underlying OS technology that supports today's mobile devices. The exploits drove home the fact that Apple, Google and Microsoft must now drive greater security through innovative functionality like Apple's biometric fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s, by rapidly patching discovered exploits, and by making smartphone security more transparent and effective.