‘SO ARE YOU SPYING ON US?' ask the US lawmakers, as if asking Jack The Ripper whether he murdered all those women and hoping he'll forget himself and confess.
Republicans from the House Energy and Commerce Committee have apparently sent a letter to Tim Cook (Apple) and Larry Page (Google/Alphabet) asking them to once again outline what they are collecting and why.
The letters were co-signed by several subcommittees and question what audio and location data is collected and if third-party developers were limited to having the info, and if so, how.
Google's response was robust, saying in a statement: "Protecting our users' privacy and securing their information is of the utmost importance. We look forward to answering the Committee's questions."
Apple has made no similar statement yet.
For all the bad that incident has done, it has also widened the number of groups taking an interest in the tech giants' privacy arrangements, and will, therefore (hopefully) mean a repeat is less likely.
That said, the aforementioned, along with Microsoft, Amazon and the other superpowers of tech are very good at pacifying the proles without actually explaining what it is they're up to.
Examples cited in the latest letter are Google's admissions that third parties can, in some cases, access your data, or that the company collects cellphone tower data, even if your location settings are off.
Apple meanwhile has been questioned on whether Siri can record conversations even if it hasn't heard its trigger-word. This question also applies to Microsoft (Cortana), Amazon (Alexa) and Google (Google 'crap name' Assistant).
Apple, which isn't modelled around all-the-ad-revenue has been let off somewhat lighter than Google and Amazon who use it as a business model.
Nevertheless, the answers to these questions will be fascinating. And probably carefully redacted by marketing and legal departments before we see them. μ
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