Senator wants privacy policies for mobile apps

Franken calls on Google and Apple to require privacy policies for apps that use location information

A U.S. senator wants Apple and Google to require some applications in their mobile app stores to have privacy policies as a way to protect users against location tracking.

Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's privacy subcommittee, called on the two mobile OS makers to require privacy policies for "location-aware" apps in a letter sent to the CEOs of Apple and Google Wednesday. Neither company requires apps they sell to have privacy policies in place, he said in the letter.

"Apple and Google have each said time and again that they are committed to protecting users' privacy," Franken wrote. "This is an easy opportunity for your companies to put that commitment into action."

A recent study from TRUSTe and Harris Interactive found that less than 20 percent of the 340 top free apps available through mobile networks have links to privacy policies, Franken said.

Franken's letter follows hearings in Congress this month on location tracking on mobile phones. Apple and Google have sent mixed signals on what information they collect about users, Franken said in a May 10 hearing.

Other senators have called for a new privacy law to protect mobile customers.

"Requiring that each app in your stores have a clear, understandable privacy policy would not resolve most of the privacy concerns in the mobile market," Franken wrote. "But it would be a simple first step that would provide users, privacy advocates, and federal consumer protection authorities a minimum of information about what information an app will access and how that app will share that information with third parties."

Representatives of Google and Apple weren't immediately available for comment.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmentsecurityprivacymobileregulationGoogleApplesoftwareapplicationstelecommunicationTrusteMobile operating systemsU.S. Senate Judiciary CommitteeHarris InteractiveAl Franken

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?