A first draft of the Mobile Trusted Module (MTM) specification from the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) was released at the CTIA trade show in Los Angeles.

The specification is designed to provide a standard for manufacturers and developers to store data securely on mobile phones. Manufacturers like Nokia, Ericsson, Sony and Motorola, as well as vendors VeriSign, Intel and IBM back the project.

The plans for the mobile security chip were first unveiled by the TCG at last year’s CTIA in San Francisco.

The MTM would reside within a protected area of the mobile, where ‘engines’ report the status of their code to it to secure the device data.

MTM could also be used to further limit consumers in what they can do with their mobile phones, at the same time as reducing the risk of virus attacks and prying eyes.

It could impact consumers by enabling digital rights management (DRM) technology and regulating downloadable applications, ringtones and other mobile media.

Consumer advocacy group the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) criticised the TCG standard for "enabling the carriers to further control their users".

The group fears that the chip's DRM could be used to prevent users from switching phone carriers, for example.