Congress unrelenting on internet privacy questions

Who doesn’t remember Mark Zuckerberg testifying before U.S Congress and Senate, answering the government’s need-to-know questions about privacy following the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Well, Mark Zuckerberg might be out of the spotlight for now, but Congress isn’t done asking questions.

On Monday, July 9th, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce revealed letters it had sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Larry Page. The subject of these letters, according to CNET, was an inquiry into “how the companies protect users’ privacy.”

A lot of the questions in the letters were surrounding mobile privacy. Apple makes iPhones, and Alphabet subsidiary Google makes Android software, so both these companies have some of the largest stakes in the world regarding mobile privacy. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce wants to know about devices tracking users’ whereabouts, and specifically the “possibility of offline data collection through location services, cellular towers, Wi-Fi hotspots and Bluetooth connection.”

“Considering that many consumers likely believe that a phone that lacks a SIM card, or one for which they have affirmatively disabled location services, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth — such as through turning on ‘Airplane Mode’ — is not actively tracking them, this alleged behavior is troubling,” the letters to both Apple and Alphabet assert. You can read those letters here.

Apple and Alphabet have been asked to reply to Congress by July 23rd.

Source: Congress presses Apple, Alphabet on privacy issues
July 9, 2018