Representatives of both Google and Apple were in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to defend themselves before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s new Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law. The politicians’ concern was that neither of the two companies was doing enough to protect their users’ privacy. “My wireless companies, Apple, and Google, and my apps, all get my location or something very close to it,” said Senator Al Franken (D-MN).
Both companies denied that they track user information, despite the testimony of independent technical consultant Ashkan Soltani that phones can usually be located within a distance of 100 feet, just by using Wi-Fi data.
Senators also raised concerns that even if Apple and Google are not collecting the data, they need greater assurances that app developers are not using it either.
Apple said it requires its developers to sign an agreement telling users how they use the data collected, but when pressured admitted that they have never removed an app from its app store for violating that agreement. Google said that it did not have such a policy in place, but that it would consider implementing one.