Apple, Android Charged WIth Privacy Violations--Again
Motivated by a New York Times report that iPhone and Android apps can access users’ private photos, Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the charges. The U.S. senator from New York also referred to a recent discovery that iPhone and iPad apps can upload entire address books -- with names, telephone numbers and email addresses -- to their servers.
“The lawmaker said it was his understanding that many of these uses violate the terms of service of the Apple and Android platforms,” Reuters reports. “He said ‘it is not clear whether or how those terms of service are being enforced and monitored.’”
“It is not the first time Apple has been at the front of a storm regarding user privacy in what was dubbed ‘Locationgate,’” notes ZDNet. “Last May, it was found that Apple collected user location data, stored it in an unencrypted file on the iOS 4-based smartphone, and the data was uploaded back to the company.”
“The U.S. Senate also called Apple and Google to a series of its own hearings last year over the location issue,” AppleInsider recalls. “Apple insisted at the hearings that it has no plans to ever track users' locations.”
“It’s good to know our elected officials are paying attention,” writes GigaOm. “Though this call for investigation could fall into the category of ‘too little, too late’ since Apple is rumored to be working on a fix.”
Still, “as Schumer sees it, Apple and Google have an obligation to protect the private content of their customers,” writes Gizmodo’s Jamie Condliffe.
As The Register reports: “The senator called on smartphone vendors ‘to put in place safety measures to ensure third-party applications are not able to violate a user's personal privacy.” "When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private," Schumer insisted on Sunday.