Dems Seek Info on Social App Data Collection and Use

Reports of social networking app Path collecting address book info and photos without consent prompted letter to Apple vendors
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The ranking members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee have sent letters to 34 vendors of Apple mobile social networking apps seeking information on data collection and use practices.

Reports of social networking app Path collecting address book info and photos without users' knowledge or consent prompted the letter and were just the latest red flag for legislators concerned about protection personal data online.

The tone of the letter was not accusatory. "We are writing to you because we want to better understand the information collection and use policies and practices of apps for Apple's mobile devices with a social element," they wrote.

Joining Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in the request was G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), ranking member of the Commerce Subcommittee. The pair had already fired off a letter to Apple last month about Path, seeking its side of the story.

Among the companies targeted were Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook.

The letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, for example, seeks info on what the company considers data that requires prior consent before collecting; how data collection, either user or device data, directly relates to the application's function; how many times its app has been downloaded in the past month; and much more.

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