Washington

Waxman, Butterfield Seek Info From Apple On Info Sharing

Reports said that Apple's Path social networking app collected address book info from consumers without asking them if they wanted to share that info 2/15/2012 10:27:13 AM Eastern

Another day, another letter from Congress to an Internet company with concerns about information sharing online.

Wednesday's letter (This incident raises questions about whether Apple's iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts.) comes from House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Commerce Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Chair G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who want answers from Apple after reports that its Path social networking app collected address book info from consumers without asking them if they wanted to share that info.

They point out that after a blogger and iOS developer blogged about that issue, Path's CEO apologized and said that, going forward, such address book sharing would require an opt in from users. "This incident raises questions about whether Apple's iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts," said the legislators.

Their concern goes beyond Apple, however, to whether collecting address book contacts without consent is common practice among app developers for Apple's iOS mobile operating system.

They have given Apple until Feb. 29 to answer a bunch of questions, including all iOS guidelines on privacy and security of data and what it considers data that requires affirmative consent from the user before it is transmitted.

This is just the latest in a host of letters to various companies from Congress over the past year, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon, over privacy policies and information sharing.

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