Apple quizzed by Congress over Path row £659
15th Feb 2012 | 18:29
Letter probes app approval process
Members of the United States Congress have written to Apple demanding answers over the Path application controversy, which saw iOS users' address books uploaded without consent.
Developers of the social networking app admitted it had mistakenly uploaded the contact information from iPhones, but has since cleared the data from its systems and issued an apology.
However, the case highlighted a flaw that could be repeated with every iOS app. They all have access to the same information, which allows apps to collate and upload the data without your permission.
Now the storm has reached government level, with Congress saying the Path incident "raises questions about whether Apple's iOS app developer policies and practices may fall short when it comes to protecting the information of iPhone users and their contacts."
Questions, questions, questions...
The letter addressed to Tim Cook demands clarification on a number of issues including the company's app privacy guidelines and how the App Store determines whether an app meets that criteria.
Congress also wants to know whether Apple considers "the contents of the address book to be "data about a user"?", while asking how many apps transmit data from the address book.
It also asks this rather reasonable question: "You have built into your devices the ability to turn off in one place the transmission of location information entirely or on an app-by-app basis. Please explain why you have not done the same for address book information."
The letter, which can be read in full on the Energy and Commerce Committee site, requests a response from Cook by the end of the month.