Apple, Google, and Facebook to face 2nd U.S. Senate hearing on May 19

“A second U.S. Senate hearing over location privacy has been scheduled,” Josh Lowensohn reports for CNET.

“Following the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about mobile privacy last week, representatives from Apple and Google are expected to again appear in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to answer questions from U.S. lawmakers in a new hearing that will also include Facebook,” Lowensohn reports. “The topic of a hearing, put on by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, is ‘consumer privacy and protection in the mobile marketplace.’ It’s being led by chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia).”

“On the docket to testify as part of a witness panel is Bret Taylor, the chief technology officer for Facebook; Catherine Novelli, Apple’s VP of worldwide government affairs; and Alan Davidson, Google’s director of public policy for the Americas. Joining them is Morgan Reed, the executive director of the Association for Competitive Technology, and Amy Guggenheim Shenkan, the president and COO of Common Sense Media,” Lowensohn reports. “Ahead of that panel is David Vladeck, the director of the bureau of consumer protection for the Federal Trade Commission. Notably missing is the U.S. Department of Justice, which made up part of the opening act in last week’s hearing, as well as a representative from Microsoft, which also collects location information from Windows Mobile 7 devices with a unique ID.”

Lowensohn reports, “U.S. Rep. Edward Markey still have questions for Apple, particularly about who else can access its location database. In a letter to Markey last week, Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel and senior vice president of legal and government affairs, noted that the company was indeed sharing the anonymized location information with a partner, something Markey said he was following up with the company about. That topic could be broached once again this week. Google, for its part, has similar crowd-sourced efforts on its Android platform that grabs Wi-Fi hot spots and MAC addresses, as well as location information to help source traffic information for its mapping service. That traffic component is also built into the Google Maps application that ships on Apple’s iOS, which Apple hinted that it might be working to replace later on down the line with its own data.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. These assholes in the Senate really have nothing better to do with their time than nitpick a tech they have no understanding of. What about focusing on the economy & federal debt. Assholes like to waste time gerrymandering & grandstanding before the TV cameras. Crooks & politicians are often only divided by a thin line.

    1. Sometimes I think it is better that Congress piddles around with stuff like this, rather than the economy and other important issues. Better they screw up the trivial rather than the vital.

  2. As long as the media is interested in this, and we are voting with our clicks, they’ll keep at it. However, my understanding is that, Google, MS have more to worry from this than Apple. Apple’s primary dough is still not via ad support. If congress passes a bill tomorrow, no more tracking without direct user opt-in, Apple will shrug and move on cheerfully.

    FB and Google, not so much. I’d, therefore, argue that Apple is more a happy participant in this, if not even a careful instigator.

  3. WHY is my government so incredibly TECH IGNORANT?!

    Go to school Senators.

    Oh and Senators! Be sure to check out your own privacy violations via the unconstitutional so-called ‘Patriot Act’. 7+ FBI hubs on the Internet inside the USA filtering the data of US citizens, with NO warrants.

  4. “Notably missing is…a representative from Microsoft, which also collects location information from Windows Mobile 7 devices with a unique ID.”

    The 23 people who admitted to owning a Windows Mobile 7 phone did not care if they were being tracked or not. “I already sold my soul to Microsoft,” said one of the unfortunates. “You can’t go to hell twice.”

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