Senator Charles Schumer wants the Federal Trade Commission and smartphone manufacturers to both take action to insure that private data on smartphones stays private. Yesterday the New York Democrat told Reuters News Agency that he’s asked the FTC to find out whether apps that gather location information are also accessing smartphone photo and video libraries, which often include GPS coordinates. Shumer was reacting to a New York Times article that explored this possibility in detail last week. That report focused just on iOS apps, but the Senator did not single out Apple in his comments.
Senator Schumer said he is concerned that apps can steal photos, location information, and even address books, and copy them to third-party servers. Saying this practice sends “shivers up the spine,” Schumer called on the FTC to determine whether accessing this information constitutes a deceptive trade practice, since smartphone users are not giving the apps permission to access their photos or address books.
The Senator also wants to hold smartphone manufacturers accountable. He said that OEMs need to put in place “safety measures” to prevent apps from accessing data without user authorization.
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