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U.S. Senator wants FTC investigation into iOS, Android over privacy concerns

News by Dan Seifert on Monday March 05, 2012.

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Consumer privacy watchdog Charles Schumer, a U.S. Senator from New York, has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to investigate Apple's iOS platform and Google's Android platform over various privacy concerns - most notably, the apparent access to a user's private photos that apps on both platforms have.

Schumer also looks to address the concerns over access to a user's address book, which was the focus of the brouhaha over the Path app on iOS last month. "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," wrote Schumer in his letter to the FTC.

Apple has already acknowledged the issue with address books and says that an update is coming to iOS that will force apps to disclose that they want to access a user's address book, much in the way that they have to ask permission for location data.

Schumer wants the onus put on smartphone manufacturers to make sure that apps don't have the ability to access various user data without the user's permission. "Smartphone makers should be required to put in place safety measures to ensure third party applications are not able to violate a user's personal privacy by stealing photographs or data that the user did not consciously decide to make public," said the Senator. [via Reuters]

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Dan Seifert
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.

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