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Google, Apple and Microsoft questioned on data tracking

Lawmakers are concerned for user privacy
Tue Apr 26 2011, 10:19

A NUMBER OF TECHNOLOGY FIRMS including Google, Apple and Microsoft have been questioned over the use of tracking technology in mobile phones that might breach users' privacy.

Republican lawmakers in the US sent letters to six companies asking them about their privacy protocols, including how they store location data and whether or not they hand on data to third parties.

The letters also included questions about user notification of tracking data and if users are given the opportunity to prevent such tracking. This has become a big issues for web browsers recently, with most of the major companies implementing 'do not track' technology.

The companies contacted by the lawmakers include Google, Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Research In Motion and HP, all of whom have smartphone operating systems on the market.

The inquiries are being made by the US House Energy and Commerce Committee headed by Representative Fred Upton. Several members of the committee called for the action as security and privacy becomes a growing concern in the technology world.

One of the instigating events behind the inquiries was a recent report by a former Apple software engineer, who claimed that Apple's software was collecting and sending unencrypted user data, including location information.

According to Bloomberg, Google said it notifies its users about location data and gives them control over it. It also said that any data sent to Google's servers is anonymised and not traceable to a user. µ


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