Lawmakers want Apple and Google to take their eyes off you
The Future. Four Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the FTC asking for it to investigate the tech giants for “enabling the collection and sale of mobile-phone users’ personal information.” While Apple and Google are changing their ways by putting privacy protections back in the hands of users, the letter may be an effort to review how Americans lost their digital privacy in the first place… and create institutional safeguards to get it back.
Senators Ron Wyden (Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), and Representative Sara Jacobs (Calif.) are taking Apple and Google to task over alleged mobile-tracking practices.
- The lawmakers point to ad-specific tracking IDs created for everyone using iOS or Android devices.
- Those IDs have “fueled” an “unregulated data-broker market” that can easily bypass the code that makes the IDs anonymous.
- The result: anyone can easily access specific user data tied to the devices.
The tech giants knew this day was coming, having recently rolled out (Apple) or are about to roll out (Google) features that make it easy for users to opt-out of tracking… which makes the letter seem “too little, too late.”
The lawmakers recognize that the proposed investigation is less about changing their practices and more about exploring Apple’s and Google’s role in “transforming online advertising into an intense system of surveillance that incentivizes and facilitates the unrestrained collection and constant sale of Americans’ personal data.”
It seems we have a few more Congressional hearings to look forward to…