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    Update: Sen. Franken Presses Google and Apple on Consumer Privacy

    Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), chairman of the subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law of the Senate Judiciary Committee has questioned Apple and Google about the recent controversy concerning researchers’ revelations about the tracking and storage of users’ location data on Apple iPhones and 3G-enabled iPad tablets, as well controversy over devices using Google’s Android devices. Earlier this month, he held a hearing on mobile privacy issues: “Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy.”

    Now, Franken has sent a letter (pdf) to Apple and Google concerning their testimony about privacy and security at the hearing and the companies’ policies. Here’s more from Franken’s statement:

    U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) today pressed Apple and Google, the owners of the two biggest application stores for mobile devices, to require clear and understandable privacy policies for all of their apps. If the companies agree to this request, consumers who purchase apps from Apple or Google’s app stores would have a clearer understanding of what information is being collected about them and with whom it’s being shared. […]

    “Apple and Google have each said time and again that they are committed to protecting users’ privacy,” the senator wrote in a letter to the companies. “This is an easy opportunity for your companies to put that commitment into action.”

    A recent study found that of the top 340 free apps, fewer than 20 percent included a link to a privacy policy, meaning that users who purchase apps have little knowledge about who is getting their personal information, how it’s being used, and who it’s being shared with.

    The letter reiterates the request Sen. Franken made to Dr. Guy “Bud” Tribble, Apple’s Vice President of Software Technology and Alan Davidson, Google’s Director of Public Policy, who both testified at a May 10 hearing.

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