Apple, Google to meet with Schumer over privacy concerns

4/14/2012 3:18:09 PM

Description: Description: Apple representatives to meet sen. Schumer to discuss privacy concerns

Tech companies are increasingly coming under pressure from federal bodies due to privacy concerns raised by consumer advocacy groups. A week ago, The New York Times published news reports stating that the location sharing app on smartphones and tablet-PCs were surreptitiously stealing personal content from users and using it for generating targeted advertising. Well, the latter is better than broad based advertising, right? Apple also came under fire for the same reason as it was discovered that certain apps managed to access photographs and text messages on their iPhone’s and iPad’s.

Apple’s representatives thus have decided to meet Sen. Charles Schumer and discuss the steps the company is taking to stop data theft from users. Apple, unlike the Android, has a lengthy testing period for all the apps it puts on display at the App Store. During this period, the app is checked thoroughly and only after all checks are completed and all avenues exhausted is the app is introduced to the consumer. Despite these stringent measures, how an unsafe app found its way into the App Store is yet to be determined.


Senator Asks FTC to investigate Google and Apple

Description: Description: Google vs Apple

The Senator of New York, Charles Schumer, is requesting that the Federal Trade Commission investigate both Google and Apple. Schumer claims that the companies are giving app developers permission to develop applications that can gain access to smartphone users private photos and videos. These apps are supposedly available in both the Apple and Android App stores.

In a press release, Senator Schumer stated the following, “When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private. Smartphone developers have an obligation to protect the private content of their users and not allow them to be veritable treasure troves of private, personal information that can then be uploaded and distributed without the consumer’s consent.”

Senator Schumer went on to say; “According to reports by independent technologists, two separate loopholes, one in the Apple operating system and one in the Android operating system, allow apps to gather users’ photos. In the case of Apple, If a user allows the application to use location data, which is used for GPSbased applications, they also allow access to the user’s photo and video files that can be uploaded to outside servers. In the case of Android-based applications, the user only needs to allow the application to use Internet services as part of the app for third parties to gain access to photo albums.”

Google and Apple have both agreed to meet with the senator to discuss these matters further.

This isn’t the first time that Apple has been in hot waters over privacy policy issues. The company faced similar scrutiny last year when the application “Path” was found to be uploading users’ entire address books and private contact information to its servers. Apple also crawled from a PR nightmare, which stemmed from claims that the company was tracking users’ locations and breaching their privacy. The company claims that this newest issue is nothing more than a bug In the system, and will be patched up in an upcoming iOS software update.


The iPad has become indispensable for small business owners

Description: Description: The iPad has become indispensable for small business owners

According to a national survey conducted by The Business Journals, 34 percent of small and medium sized businesses say that the iPad is crucial for their day-to-day business activities. The survey also reveals that iPad usage, which was limited to just 9 percent in 2010, has shot up to 34 percent in 2011. This makes the iPad the fastest adopted technology in the market by small and medium sized businesses. Even computerization and the Internet did not grow at that pace.

The iPad was first introduced into the market in 2010 when the general economic mood was at an all-time low and has recovered very little since then. Businesses were struggling to stay afloat and needed ways to enhance their efficiency. The iPad enabled these business owners to achieve just that. Around 1,400 businesses were surveyed for this study. The report also indicates that with the introduction of cloud computing, the need for the iPad is going to increase even more.

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