July 19, 2010: MARKEY AND BARTON RELEASE APPLE RESPONSE ON PRIVACY CONCERNS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), Co-Chairmen of the House Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, today released the response from Apple Inc. to their June 24th letter to the company, which was prompted by press reports of recent changes to Apple’s privacy policy.

According to these reports, Apple’s updated terms and conditions contained in the company’s privacy policy suggest that Apple is collecting and sharing data containing the precise geographic locations of consumers using iPads, iPhones, and other Apple products.

 
As more Americans rely on location-based services as part of their everyday lives, it is imperative that consumers have control over how their personal information is used, transmitted, and stored. Apple’s responses provided additional information about how it uses location data and the ability of consumers to exercise control over a variety of features on Apple’s products, and I appreciate the company’s response,” said Markey.

 
Consumer consent is the key to assessing the adequacy of privacy protections, and Apple’s responses provide examples of how consumers can grant or withhold consent in their usage of Apple products.  I will continue to closely monitor this issue to ensure that consumers are empowered to keep their personal information private, if they choose, while still enjoying the benefits that accompany continuously evolving technological innovations.”  

 
Our personal information has moved from our wallets and home filing cabinets, to the file cabinets of data brokers and online files of behavioral advertisers and now, directly to the Internet ‘cloud’ from our mobile devices. The new challenges and concerns that present themselves with the collection and use of location-based information are particularly disconcerting. Consumers must be made aware of this collection and they must consent to giving it up,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

 
A couple of fundamental principles must guide all decisions in this space: transparency, consumer consent, and consumer control. While I applaud Apple for responding to our questions, I remain concerned about privacy policies that run on for pages and pages. I hope every business that uses information for advertising and marketing purposes will work toward more transparency and complete disclosure about their practices, as well as robust security for the information they hold.

 
 A full copy of Apple’s response can be found here.

 
A copy of Markey and Barton’s previous letter to apple can be found here.

 

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