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Sen. Schumer Calls for FTC Probe into Apps

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 7:08am
Monica Alleven

Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.), is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch an investigation into the app download practices of Apple and Google/Android to determine whether their mobile privacy practices represent deceptive trade practices. He's also urging smartphone makers to enforce stringent privacy measures.

The senator made the announcement on Sunday, after a week in which the New York Times' Bits blog reported that apps can access an iPhone user's entire photo library without users even knowing it. It can happen after the user of an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch grants access to location information, but there's no further notice or warning about what's going on.

The NYT report also said it was unclear whether any apps in Apple's App Store were illicitly copying user photos, but said an unpublished test app from an iOS developer was able to siphon photos and their location data to a remote server.

Schumer wants smartphone makers to put in place safety measures to ensure third-party apps don't steal private information and wants the FTC to launch an investigation to determine if unauthorized copying of information constitutes deceptive trade practices.

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