- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
FCC, FTC seek explanations on phone location data
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal regulators are joining the growing list of public officials demanding answers from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. about the extent to which mobile devices track the location of their users and store detailed histories of their movements.
The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are teaming up to host a public forum next month to explore the benefits and risks of location-based services. And they are inviting Apple and Google to explain themselves following recent revelations that Apple’s popular iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android software have been storing location information.
Among other things, the forum will look at whether companies adequately disclose _ and whether consumers adequately understand _ how location-based services work and what privacy tradeoffs they may be accepting in using such services.
Consumers are embracing all sorts of location-based services being offered by wireless carriers, device makers and third-party developers, including mapping tools to look up directions, social networking applications to connect with nearby friends and concierge services to find local businesses. But privacy watchdogs warn that location data that gets stored over time can provide a window into very private details about a person’s life. Databases filled with such information, they fear, could become inviting targets for hackers, stalkers, divorce attorneys and law enforcement agents.
Last week, a Senate Judiciary panel grilled executives from both companies following Apple’s recent admission that the iPhone was storing the locations of nearby cellphone towers and Wi-Fi hot spots for up to a year, data that can be used to create rough map of the owner’s movements. Apple also revealed that a software bug caused iPhones to continue to send anonymous location data to the company’s servers even when location services on the device were turned off.
Apple has said it will no longer store the data on phones for more than seven days, will encrypt the data and will stop backing up the files to user computers. It also has fixed the bug with a free software update.
Google, too, recently acknowledged that phones running Android store some GPS location data for a short time.
Executives from both companies will be testifying at a Senate Commerce hearing on location tracking on Thursday.
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Defiant Reid vows Bundy ranch confrontation 'not over'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.