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Government IOS Privacy Your Rights Online

US Congress Probes iOS App Developers On Privacy 52

Posted by timothy
from the they're-looking-for-tips dept.
hypnosec writes with the arguably welcome news that "[The U.S.] Congress is gathering further information on iOS developers and how they deal with and implement privacy policies. The Next Web got hold of a letter from Congress which had been sent out to Tapbots, along with some 32 other iOS developers, including both Twitter and Facebook, and the devs of Path, SoundCloud, Foodspotting and Turntable.fm. The apps were picked because they come under the social networking umbrella in the 'essentials' area of the App Store. The letter begins: 'We are writing to you because we want to better understand the information collection and use policies and practices of apps for Apple's mobile devices with a social element.' What follows is a series of eight questions designed to gather more details regarding the popularity of the app in question, and the privacy policy to which it holds (and how it's made known to users)."
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US Congress Probes iOS App Developers On Privacy

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  • If I got a letter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @12:51AM (#39464463)
    If I got a letter like that, I'd tell the government that as long as they support the actions of groups like the TSA, they have no business at all asking anyone else about their privacy policies or trying legislate privacy rights. They probably won't like being told to pound sand, or having the truth thrown in their faces, but those assholes deserve it.
    • by mlow82 (889294)
      Just because the government may have questionable privacy policies, doesn't mean that app developers shouldn't be held to the same standards. I want BOTH developers and the TSA to respect my privacy.
      • Just because the government may have questionable privacy policies, doesn't mean that app developers shouldn't be held to the same standards.

        I think what you wrote might not be what you actually meant. At least I hope so :-)

    • by Dhalka226 (559740)

      Yeah, I definitely think the best course of action is to refuse to help somebody who is going to pass laws of importance to you, all but guaranteeing a suboptimal-at-best law. "YOU'RE NOT PERFECT, STOP TRYING TO BE BETTER!" is a fantastic rallying cry.

      Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @12:52AM (#39464467)

    Nothing like a government probe in your i

  • by SpaceCadetTrav (641261) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @12:54AM (#39464473) Homepage
    What could go wrong?
    • by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @02:48AM (#39464685)

      Nothing, if the regulation is simply making sure that they have reasonable, human-readable privacy policies.

      Stop drinking the all-regulation-is-evil koolaid. Haven't you ever noticed that the same people pushing it are the ones who make billions by abusing unregulated markets?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NotQuiteReal (608241)
        Stop drinking the all-regulation-is-good koolaid. Haven't you ever noticed that the same people pushing it are the ones who make billions by abusing "regulated" markets?
      • by sdnoob (917382)

        just because a policy exists and is human readable does not mean it is actually honored and implemented. trust in the developer is at least as important.

    • If Iphone users cared about their privacy

      Any MOBILE user who cared about privacy would buy an iPhone

      Because then the Apple sandbox mostly protects you (fully after the next iOS update which adds permission around the address book).

      With Android any old thing that comes down the pike can rape you, privacy wise, and drain your battery for extra good measure to send off your treasured data.

      • by Kalriath (849904)

        The Apple sandbox that can be defeated by a fucking web page rooting the device.

        No thanks. (And I do in fact own an iPhone by the way, and I do happen to like it. I'm simply not deluded into thinking it magically protects me from those "evil nasties" that Android has).

  • Arkell v. Pressdram (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fnord666 (889225) on Sunday March 25, 2012 @12:58AM (#39464493) Journal
    To what degree do developers of iOS applications have any obligation whatsoever to fill this form out and return it? What happens if you simply give them the same response given in Arkell v. Pressdram [wikipedia.org]?
    • by TheLink (130905)
      Not all IOS App devs are under US jurisdiction (officially at least). If Congress wants those devs to actually care they should convince Apple to convince them.
      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        Doesn't really matter. You are supposed to follow the laws and regulations in all countries where your app can be used. That's why responsible developers restrict their app to only work in their own country.

    • by sam31415 (558641)
      They have no obligation at all; the letters [house.gov] are requests. However... if they don't reply, the committee will likely assume the worst about their privacy practices. It's probably in the developers' collective best interests to convince Congress that some amount of self-regulation is occurring. (The last question is even "(9) Please list all industry self-regulatory organizations to which you belong.")
    • To what degree do developers of iOS applications have any obligation whatsoever to fill this form out and return it? What happens if you simply give them the same response given in Arkell v. Pressdram?

      Its better not to piss off those who can write the legislation that can screw up your business or industry. Its better for them to view you as cooperative and reasonable. That way when legislation is proposed that affects your business or industry you can speak with them from a more favorable position. If you had previously been cooperative and reasonable then your opinion will have more weight. This doesn't guarantee things will ultimately go your way but the odds of a good outcome are better when starting

  • A little back-channel grease will slick the skids for your competition. Google's having these troubles too, both in the US and in China. It's just stalling though and will come to nothing.

    You see, even if you have the entire government in your pocket you still have to come out with a desirable product.

  • to which it holds...
  • /=/=/=/=/=/=/C-O-N-G-R-E-S-S\=\=\=\=\=\=\

    Congress has noticed you exist. Lose one turn.

    • No Kidding -

      I have been idly itching to make a couple of versions of Business The Game. One would be in conjunction with Wizards of the Coast using MTG type play. Or Monopoly. You know, it's all the same themes, but they were so harmless on the first go around (the 1980's). By now they built the Hotel on Copyright Place, so each successive power grab at a bill is much nastier.

      I can already see the sets - the 9-11 Security Theater set, the Copyright set, the Defend the Kiddies set, the Patent Lawsuit set, an

  • Where does it say in the constitution that congress is responsible for being a consumer or even privacy watchdog? Isn't that the responsibility of the FTC Bereau of Consumer Protection, CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), the newly created Department of Consumer Protection or the CPSC (Consumer Protection Safety Commission)? See below for links.. these are separate organizations of government.

    I think the congressional hearings are far, far too used. I watch as ignorant senators call up Goldman Sa

  • As soon as Congress balances the budget and brings the troops home, then we'll talk about micro-managing mobile app developers.
  • Would all these criticisms disappear if the request had come from the Federal Trade Commission? Somehow I suspect that the government-hating contingent on Slashdot would make the same arguments about any requests by a Federal agency.

    I don't trust app developers or anyone else whose profits derive from using my personal information. That's why I don't have accounts on Facebook or Twitter.

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