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U.S. Senator asks FTC to investigate Apple and Android

Charles Schumer, a Democratic Senator from New York, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple and Google over reports that applications on both mobile platforms can steal private photos and contacts, and export them to external servers, Reuters reported on Sunday. “These uses go well beyond what a reasonable user understands himself to be consenting to when he allows an app to access data on the phone for purposes of the app’s functionality,” Schumer said in a letter to the FTC. The senator understands that these actions violate the terms of service on both platforms, although “it is not clear whether or how those terms of service are being enforced and monitored.” As a result, Schumer believes “smartphone makers should be required to put in place safety measures to ensure third party applications are not able to violate a user’s personal privacy by stealing photographs or data that the user did not consciously decide to make public.” Schumer said it is the companies’ job to protect their customers. “When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private,” he said.