Lawmakers want Apple to brief them on iOS app privacy
The company's response to earlier questions about access to address-book data was inadequate, they said
IDG News Service - Two U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday asked Apple representatives to brief members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the company's mobile privacy policies, saying a letter from Apple did not answer all of their questions.
The request is the latest development in a controversy over whether iOS apps need to ask for an iPhone owner's consent before gathering contact information from the phone. The issue arose after reports that the social-networking app Path was accessing and collecting iPhone users' address book data without seeking their consent.
Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking member of the committee, and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Feb. 15, citing the Path issue and asking nine questions about Apple's iOS app developer policies regarding privacy.
Apple responded on March 2 with a letter that outlined its iOS app review guidelines, noting that the rules said apps could not transmit data about a user without obtaining prior permission and informing them how and where the data would be used. It said "the vast majority" of the 550,000 apps from third parties don't collect or transmit any user data. The company has also announced that a future software release will include a mechanism for explicit user consent to access address-book data, similar to the current consent process for location data.
On Wednesday, Waxman and Butterfield wrote back to Cook and said the March 2 letter didn't answer all of their questions. They also raised new questions about reports that apps can access photos on Apple mobile devices.
"To help us understand these issues, we request that you make available representatives to brief our staff on the Energy and Commerce Committee," Waxman and Butterfield wrote. Waxman, of California, and Butterfield, of North Carolina, are both Democrats.
Pressure on mobile privacy is also coming from other quarters in the government. On March 5, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple and Google's allowing apps to access the photos on users' phones.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday's letter.
- Big Data, Big Mess: Sound Risk Intelligence Through Complete Context This paper examines the insecurity of the small businesses in the supply chain and offers tips to close those backdoors into the enterprise.
- Using Cyber Insurance and Cybercrime Data to Limit Your Business Risk This paper examines the challenges of understanding cyber risks, the importance of having the right cyber risk intelligence, and how to use this...
- 5 Tips to Secure Small Business Backdoors in the Enterprise Supply Chain This paper examines the insecurity of the small businesses in the supply chain and offers tips to close those backdoors into the enterprise.
- Confront consumerization with convergence Virtualization expert Elias Khnaser spotlights the security, compliance, and governance issues that arise when enterprise users "consumerize" with shadow IT and public cloud...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All Gov't Legislation/Regulation White Papers | Webcasts