The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a letter asking about Apple’s location data collection behaviors through its iPhones.
Scrutiny has been growing on how phones, mainly Android phones, collect and send user data — from location to messages to audio and modem addresses — to foreign servers. There’s some question as to whether an iPhone, extremely popular in the United States, do the same in spite of Cook’s personal promise that his business respects his customers’ privacy to the utmost degree.
The committee has sent along 16 questions for the executive to answer, including ones on what sort of data is collected and stored on iPhones through cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and whether apps get any of that data, even if location service permissions have been turned off. If app publishers violate rules on how it uses the data, what does Apple do to enforce its policies? How does enhanced 911 location data get handled? The Apple chief is also asked if any audio is collected from users even when Siri goes unprompted.
It’s not the first time this ear that the committee has requisitioned Cook to respond to questions — one representative suggested that Apple retroactively award $50 subsidies to those who had replaced the battery in their eligible iPhone prior to this year and the company eventually did.