Feeds

Senator demands FTC iPhone, Android photo privacy probe

Smartphone sniffer apps snoop

Website security in corporate America

The Federal Trade Commission has been urged by a US senator to probe allegations that apps installed on Apple and Google Android mobile handsets slurp users' private photos and contacts without first gaining the consent of the customer.

Reuters reported yesterday that Democrat Charles Schumer had been in touch with the FTC after reading a New York Times report that showed how iPhone apps could gain access to an individual's private photo collection and consequently post them online.

And it turns out Google's Android system can be similarly manipulated.

In a letter to the commission, the lawmaker wrote that he was concerned about such apps having the ability – along with photo-slurping capability – to lift entire address books from devices including Apple's iPad and then copy them over to separate servers.

"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," Schumer said in his missive to the FTC, according to Reuters.

He went on to claim that Apple and Google Android's terms of service had been violated by such usage by apps that slurp personal data from the devices without gaining permission from the punter.

Schumer added that it was unclear "whether or how those terms of service are being enforced and monitored" by Cupertino and Mountain View.

The senator called on smartphone vendors "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".

Apple and Google couldn't immediately be reached for comment at time of writing. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.