Truste, Citing Location Privacy Worries, Expands Certification Program to the Mobile World

9/27/10Follow @wroush

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eBay and Facebook. Late last year it brought on Babel, the former manager of Verisign’s global SSL and Identity Authentication business (since sold to Symantec), who said at the time that Truste was “poised to achieve a new level of growth.” And this June the organization raised an additional $12 million in venture funding in a round led by new investor Jafco Ventures. Babel says the company has put much of the money into new automated scanning software that continually challenges clients’ websites and mobile apps for privacy lapses.

Mobile-centric companies weren’t being adequately served by Truste’s previous Web-focused services, Babel says. “A lot of customers will come in and look at the Web certification and now they will be able to get a mobile certification as well, scoring their mobile site as well as any apps they’ve created,” he says. “Additionally, if you are collecting data in the EU and you need Safe Harbor [a U.S. Department of Commerce program that helps companies comply with stricter privacy controls in Europe], we have an additional box you can check, as well as COPPA [the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998] if you are marketing to children under 13. We try to lead with the product that meets your needs. If you are just a mobile company, it will be just the mobile one. We want to make sure you are completely covered.”

I put it to Babel that $3,000 a year for privacy certification might be a lot to ask of a small mobile-app development startup. He pointed out that in addition to big brands like Yelp, the Weather Channel, and GoDaddy, the new mobile program already has small clients like TigerText, which lets users send self-destructing text messages, and Whereoscope, a location-based app builder (which I happened to profile last week). “You might think $3,000 is expensive. For a lot of them the question is how to get their app downloaded and used, so you can think of it as cheap marketing. A lot of these guys look at it and say, ‘The extra downloads and conversions are really very valuable.’”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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