Vodafone 360 Audio Boo
Listen: Vodafone 360 Audio Boo
Last night I attended the Vodafone 360 global launch party in Shoreditch, London (not quite as huge as it sounds, but fun none the less). Vodafone describe the new service as:

Vodafone 360 is a brand new set of internet services for the mobile and PC which gathers all of a customer’s friends, communities, entertainment and personal favourites (like music, games, photos and video) in one place

The emphasis is on the social element of mobile and internet usage and the ability to sync (or bring together) your different contacts and social presence on different sites together with your mobile contacts.

Christian Payne (aka Documentally) interviewed mobile guru Helen Keegan and I on our thoughts of the new service, and in particular some of our concerns about privacy.

>> Listen here.

I had three main queries:

  1. Did it sync with Gmail?
  2. Where was the data saved – on the phone, in the cloud, on a Vodafone server?
  3. How were privacy standards of users maintained, both of 360 service users and their contacts?

In the interview Helen made some interesting points about whether such concerns over privacy are cultural, and pointed out that they very much greater in the UK than they are in other countries.

Terence Eden of Vodafone kindly got back to me on these queries via Twitter as follows:

documentally – RT @edent: I heard all 16mins of http://boo.fm/b65672 @Kcorrick yes, it supports Gmail. Stored securely in cloud. Privacy v important

edent – @kcorrick privacy needs to be front & centre – also needs tight user friendly controls. I know we comply with DPA etc.

edent – @kcorrick FYI the guy managing Vodafone People is @alexfc – he should know the answers to your privacy questions.

These are encouraging signs and it’s fantastic that people like Terence are engaged to respond personally. This isn’t just an issue specific to Vodafone. As more and more of our data gets brought together like this – sometimes unbeknownst to us on services our friends and contacts use – we need to be aware of what’s going on, what controls we have over the information, who owns it and how it can be used, and whether we are comfortable with the answers we receive.


  1. There will be a definitive FAQ including privacy questions come the launch, but this is what I’ve seen.

    Vodafone People has been designed to meet best practice guidelines for social networking internet experiences.
    The EU Principles for social networking Services (http://issuu.com/i.l.m./docs/eu_social_networking) and the UK Taskforce guidelines for Social networking services (http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/operational-policing/social-networking-guidance/) have driven that design. In line with standard practice on social networking sites, Vodafone People has a lower age limit of 14.

    Vodafone People has industry leading privacy controls to give our users complete control and visibility of how to use these features. All location settings on the services are set to ‘off’ as a default, so a user has to actively switch them on. To change this at any time – either to ‘on’ or ‘off’ – it’s just one click in the profile.
    What’s more, we’ve given customers the option to disclose their location at different levels of detail – ‘pinpoint’/’city’/’off’ – and we’ve designed an on-screen icon that reminds them that the location feature is on even if they have People running in the background.
    Permissions to view location can also be given at a group level.
    There are a range of other controls too which we designed specifically to allay any concerns about privacy.
    The Vodafone Privacy settings are all located in one place to make them easy to access and use from both the mobile and from the web, so the customer is always in control of which groups or individuals see their details, their presence, their shared pictures or location.

    Hope that makes it a bit clearer.

  2. im trialing the phone at the moment, i thinks its fab.

    like any new phone it took a day or two to get used to but ive now customised it to do everything i want… im a heavy web and facebook user and they way this phone syncs my contacts with my facebooks profiles is amazing. i get my friends mobile numbers, e-mail addresses, facebook profiles and status all in one place, fantastic! One click on their pics and i can sms, call, e-mail them or see their facebook status : )

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