Apple Called To Washington To Dispel Privacy Concerns

The US Congress is unhappy with Apple’s response to privacy practice queries regarding the iOS operating system. Tim Cook (pictured), CEO of Apple, has received a request to send a representative to Washington DC for a deeper grilling.

Cook’s response to a request for information sent in February gave insufficient details, according to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (HCEC).

Incomplete answers

In the 14 March letter, Representative Henry Waxman, a member of the HCEC, and Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing member George Butterfield asked for an Apple representative to explain in person how the company’s developer policies and practices protect app users’ personal information.

The Representatives wrote that the earlier letter “did not answer a number of the questions we raised about the company’s efforts to protect the privacy and security of its mobile device users”.

Apparently, the response was delivered  two days late and did not answer some of the questions. It is quite likely that Apple was anticipating an invitation to meet in Washington so that its responses can be more focused.

The written request outlines more detail on the congressmen’s concerns. In line with a planned US Federal Trade Congress (FTC) investigation into Apple’s apps, the officials want to know more about online tracking tools and apps that allow their developers’ to access users’ photos.

The FTC investigation into similar loopholes is more specific and cites the ability for location-tagged photographs to be uploaded by the authors of the apps and thereby allow a degree of tracking of the user.

The letter did not specify a date for the Washington meeting but that will be decided when the Representatives are happy with Apple’s chosen delegate.

Apple, and other mobile phone makers, has been in hot water with Congress over more-detailed tracking concerns when it was revealed that accessible data was stored that could accurately trace a user’s travels.

Eric Doyle, ChannelBiz

Eric is a veteran British tech journalist, currently editing ChannelBiz for NetMediaEurope. With expertise in security, the channel, and Britain's startup culture, through his TechBritannia initiative

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