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FTC Asked to Investigate Apple and Google Over Data Collection

  |  March 5, 2012   |  Comments

Senator Charles Schumer concerned apps could be collecting names, numbers and emails.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been asked to investigate Apple and Google amid concerns that some iOS and Android apps are collecting personal information from devices and passing it to third parties.

In a letter to the FTC, New York Senator Charles Schumer expressed concerns that privacy rights may be infringed as contact names, telephone numbers and email addresses are acquired from devices without user permission.

"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," Reuters quoted Schumer as saying in the letter.

"[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."

Schumer noted that it was unclear whether the use of personal information in this way violates the terms of service of the Apple and Android platforms.

"It is not clear whether or how those terms of service are being enforced and monitored," he added.

Google and Apple have not responded to comment from ClickZ sister site V3 on the development.

The request to the FTC comes as research from MWR InfoSecurity found that Android applications allow text messages, emails, photos, contacts and calendar information to be passed directly to advertising firms.

The research was commissioned by Channel 4, although no details about which applications or how many pass on information have been disclosed at this time.

European justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has gone on record as saying that data protection laws in Europe may need to be strengthened to protect citizens.

This article was originally published on V3.

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