Apple and Google face US senate over privacy issues

Apple and Google face US senate over privacy issues

Apple and Google representatives yesterday (10 May) appeared in front of US Senate officials to defend their methods of tracking mobile devices.

The subcommittee hearing, led by Minnesota Democrat Senator Al Franken, questioned Apple and Google chiefs on their alleged tactics of tracking users' locations using smartphones and then subsequently selling the information to third parties.

Company executives found themselves in the hot seat after it was recently revealed that their devices recorded user locations and backed them up using device software.

When questioned about Apple’s attitude to privacy, the manufacturer’s VP of software technology Bud Tribble said: ‘First, Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all of our customers. We've adopted a single, comprehensive privacy policy for all of our products.

‘We do not share personally identifiable information with third parties for their marketing purposes without our customers' explicit consent.’

Tribble also maintained that although its iPhone product did keep a database of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers, Apple does not track the movements of its customers.

Google director of public policy Alan Davidson also answered questions on location information.

Davidson told Senators: ‘We use information where we can provide value to our users and we apply the principles of transparency, control and security. We are particularly sensitive when it comes to location information.’

However, Franken remained dissatisfied and argued that consumers have the right to know who is getting their information and how that information is shared and used.

He added: ‘I have serious doubts about whether those rights are being respected in law or in practice.’

Apple recently released software update through iTunes which contains changes to the iOS location database and reduces the size of the location storage.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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