Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Business Intelligence Sales & Marketing More Topics...
Eliminate costly downtime!
Find out how with Free White Paper
& enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Mobile Tech
Real-time info services with Neustar
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
High-Ranking Senator Wants FTC To Probe Apps That
High-Ranking Senator Wants FTC To Probe Apps That 'Leak Data'

By Adam Dickter
March 5, 2012 4:58PM

Bookmark and Share
On Feb. 28, The New York Times, based on information from developers, reported that allowing some apps to access information on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch allowed them to "copy the user's entire photo library, without any further notification or warning." Other news stories soon followed that Android apps behaved similarly.
 

Related Topics

Data
Apple
Privacy
App
Apps


Putting Google and Apple once again under harsh scrutiny of their privacy practices, a senior senator from New York called on the Federal Trade Commission on Sunday to look into apps that "are leaking user data."

Sen. Charles Schumer was reacting to news that both Google's Android operating system and Apple's iOS allow applications that send photos to third-party servers. In a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, Schumer also noted reports of apps that allow location data and address books to be "copied in their entirety and used for marketing or other purposes."

"These uses go well beyond what a reasonable user understands himself to be consenting to when he allows an app to access data on the phone for purposes of the app's functionality," Schumer wrote.

The third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Schumer is known for his weekly Sunday news conferences, usually on consumer protection issues.

Hands Full

The FTC already has its hands full policing the privacy practices of technology giants. It called Google on the carpet for opting Gmail users in to a now-failed social network, Buzz, without asking, and took on Facebook for making misleading promises about what information the world's biggest social network shared.

Apple, for its part, has faced critics on privacy issues before. Last year, it was discovered that iPads and iPhones track and keep the location data of users. The company blamed the data collection on a system bug.

On Feb. 28, The New York Times, based on information from developers, reported that allowing some apps to access information on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch allowed them to "copy the user's entire photo library, without any further notification or warning."

"It is my understanding that many of these uses violate the terms of service of the Apple and Android platforms through which the apps are marketed and sold," Schumer wrote to Leibowitz. "However, it is not clear whether or how those terms of service are being enforced and monitored. In fact, the abuses of apps have only come to light as a result of the work of intrepid independent researchers and technologists. As a result, it is users and their privacy who suffer."

What They Don't Know Can Hurt Them

As the ease of using smartphones conceals the complexity and sophistication of their design and capabilities, users need to be protected, said technology analyst Jeff Kagan.

"Today, what smart phones can do has gotten way ahead of what most users understand," he said. "In fact it has gotten way ahead of all laws to protect consumers. That's why the effort of Sen. Schumer may be necessary. If the industry doesn't want to police itself, then it has to be policed."

Schumer's letter was hailed by the Future of Privacy Forum, a public policy advocacy group that aims to find common ground between consumers and business.

"[He] is exactly right in that the platforms need to get this right before consumers start to worry about downloading apps for fear of data theft," said the forum's co-chairman, Jules Polonetsky. "The FTC has already warned app developers that not disclosing key information could be the subject of enforcement action, and the California attorney general has signed an agreement with Google and Apple that is focused on app privacy practices."

Polonetsky was a legislative aide to Schumer from 1992 to 1994.

The senator's letter is the second from Congress to the FTC in a few weeks. Last month, Reps. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., asked Liebowitz to look into Google's use of a code that reportedly bypasses browser privacy settings for Apple's Safari.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Mobile Tech
1.   Android Gets Chrome Remote Desktop
2.   Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
3.   Zebra Buys Motorola Enterprise Biz
4.   CTIA Caves, Offers Kill Switch Plan
5.   Report: Amazon Phone To Feature 3D


advertisement
BlackBerry Drops T-Mobile After Spat
Moving on to other carriers after snub.
Average Rating:
Zebra Buys Motorola Enterprise Biz
Pays $3.45B in all-cash deal.
Average Rating:
CTIA Caves, Offers Kill Switch Plan
But leaves control up to users.
Average Rating:


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Google's Street View Software Unravels CAPTCHAs
The latest software Google uses for its Street View cars to read street numbers in images for Google Maps works so well that it also solves CAPTCHAs, those puzzles designed to defeat bots.
 
Canadian Teen Arrested for Heartbleed Hack
One week after the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability was unveiled, Canadian authorities have made the first arrest -- a London, Ontario teenager -- connected to exploiting the security hole.
 
IBM Offers Security, Disaster Recovery as SoftLayer Service
New disaster recovery and security services for SoftLayer clients are being added by IBM. Big Blue said the new capabilities will speed cloud adoption by alleviating concern over business continuity.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Vaio Fit 11A Battery Danger Forces Recall by Sony
Using a Sony Vaio Fit 11A laptop? It's time to send it back to Sony. In fact, Sony is encouraging people to stop using the laptop after several reports of its Panasonic battery overheating.
 
Continued Drop in Global PC Shipments Slows
Worldwide shipments of PCs fell during the first three months of the year, but the global slump in PC demand may be easing, with a considerable slowdown from last year's drops.
 
Google Glass Finds a Home in Medical Education, Practice
Google Glass may find its first markets in verticals in which hands-free access to data is a boon. Medicine is among the most prominent of those, as seen in a number of Glass experiments under way.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Google Releases Chrome Remote Desktop App for Android
You're out on a sales call, and use your Android mobile device to grab a file you have back at the office on your desktop. That's a bit easier now with Google's Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android.
 
Amazon 3D Smartphone Pics Leaked
E-commerce giant Amazon is reportedly set to launch a smartphone after years of development. Photos of the phone, which may feature a unique 3D interface, were leaked by tech pub BGR.
 
Zebra Tech Buys Motorola Enterprise for $3.45B
Weeks after Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility’s assets from Google for $2.91 billion, Zebra Technologies is throwing down $3.45 billion for Motorola’s Enterprise business in an all-cash deal.
 

Navigation
CRM Daily
Home/Top News | CRM Systems | Customer Service | Business Intelligence | Sales & Marketing | Contact Centers | Customer Data | CRM Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.