investigated the collection, use, and storage of consumer location data from
four U.S. wireless carriers, and determined that mobile privacy safeguards
should also be applied to third-party app developers.
privacy has become a serious issue for some carriers that choose to use methods
of tracking in order to target ads to
consumers. For instance, Apple used a new feature on iOS 4 to capture location data
on its a users through their iPhone or iPad. What's more is
that Apple stored this information in a local file, and when a user buys a new
iPhone or iPad, this file is transferred to the new device.
addition, other reports have found that Android-based
phones are mining personal data as well, but are not storing it
in a file.
security problems like this at hand, lawmakers have requested information from
Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel Corp. regarding
their privacy practices, including the collection, use and storage of user
Edward Markey and Joe Barton, co-chairs of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy
Caucus, received letters from all four carriers on Thursday. After reviewing
these letters, Markey and Barton agreed that third-party developers should also
have to abide by mobile privacy safeguards.
developers can access the location of customers at any time they want,"
said Barton. "They shouldn't have free reign over your
location data and personally identifiable information."
noted that user privacy protection must be a priority for wireless carriers,
application developers and mobile handset makers.
Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller will hold a hearing on consumer
privacy on May 10, where Google and Apple will be in attendance. While many
hope that this sort of legislative attention will change privacy laws and make
third-party developers abide by them, the outcome is uncertain at this