US Congress Hears From Apple and Google on Privacy

Saying there has been a fundamental shift for cellphone users in determining “who has their information and what they’re doing with it,” Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, called a Congressional hearing today to question executives from both Google and Apple on data location and mobile devices. The hearing was the first for the newly formed Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law, led by Senator Franken.Lawmakers on the panel all acknowledged that mobile devices and location-based technology were useful for individuals and businesses, but cited growing concerns about how much data was being shared with third-party companies, the potential for data security breaches and the threat of criminal activity, like stalking, as issues affecting mobile privacy. Regulators also raised concerns about the use of location-based technology by children who use smartphones and other devices.To read this New York Times report in full, see: see:Apple And Google At The Senate Privacy Hearing: What You Might Have Missed
At a senate hearing today, Apple and Google defended themselves against allegations that the companies do an inadequate job of protecting user privacy on mobile devices.The hearing came as a result of a report revealing that Apple’s iPhones store precise locational data in unencrypted files on the devices. Google’s Android phones were found to do the same. The hearing, “Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy,” sought to examine the situation of the privacy landscape as it regards the mobile sphere. defends privacy policy, presses for legislation
Google defended its privacy policies on Tuesday, saying they provide services that range from helping parents send Amber Alerts about missing children to aiding people who want to flee natural disasters.But the company also supports legislation to help protect privacy online–so long as it is applied equally to all providers, the company said in prepared testimony submitted for Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate Judiciary Privacy, Technology, and the Law Subcommittee. Still Concerned About Apple Tracking
Apple Inc has promised to update its software to address concerns that its iPhones, iPads and other devices may be keeping files that track users’ movements. But Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., says he is not quite satisfied.”Specifically, Apple will encrypt location information stored on customers’ iPhones and iPads and other Apple mobile devices and significantly shorten the amount of time location information is retained by the company,” Markey, co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, says in a statement.

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