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The Brazilian federal government and the GSM association (GSMA), through its seven associated carriers in the Brazilian market, signed an MoU on Tuesday in Barcelona to increase mobile security in the digital landscape.
The initiative was unveiled at a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in the presence of Brazil's communications minister Paulo Bernardo, GSMA's general director Anne Bouverot, and Sebastian Cabello, GSMA director for Latin America.
Executives from carriers Algar Telecom, Claro Brasil, Nextel, Oi (NYSE: OIBR), Sercomtel , TIM (NYSE: TSU) and Vivo (NYSE: VIV), the seven members of GSMA in the country which are supporting the project, were also present at the conference.
The project, called We Care, is based on three pillars: control of mobile spam through SMS, reduction in the number of handset thefts and the protection of children's rights in the use of mobile networks.
Regarding spam, the initiative is aimed at allowing users to forward via SMS any spam received to their mobile devices. The spam will be then examined, blocked and reported.
For the second pillar, the idea is to reduce the number of handset thefts by integrating local theft records into GSMA's database, which currently incorporates 84 operators worldwide, 19 of which are in Latin America, Cabello said. According to GSMA, Brazil currently has the second highest rate of handset theft in the world.
Finally, regarding children's rights, GSMA is partnering with Safernet to track and monitor child abuse on the web. The measure as seen as significant as around half of all internet users in Brazil are said to be under 24 years old.
"For GSMA, this MoU is highly relevant, as Brazil is currently the fifth largest mobile market in the world after Japan," Cabello said, adding that the association does not usually ink these kind of agreements with governments.
"This collaboration is an example of the type of relationship we can have with the government. It is particularly relevant because it is a partnership between the private and public sectors. This is about social inclusion, job creation and economic growth, and I see health care, disaster preparedness and other areas where we can contribute," added Bouverot.
At the conference, Bouverot said that all eyes will be on Brazil for the World Cup and Olympic Games and that the country must showcase "the very best image in terms of technology," adding that "we are here to help you with that."
The next steps following the signing of the MoU include the creation of an inter-ministerial working group led by the communications ministry. The framework for the first effective results is estimated at four to six months.
The integration of Brazilian handset theft records onto GSMA's database is estimated to take two months.
GSMA's Brazil director Amadeu de Castro highlighted the importance of people effectively reporting the thefts in order for the initiative to work. The project will not be publicized in mass media, but on GSMA's portal and through SMS to all Brazilian mobile users.