NCCC Supports Senator Schumer’s Privacy Efforts
Plans to Halt Misuse of Consumer Information by App Companies
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate reports that Android, iPhone and iPad applications, or apps, used on smartphones and similar devices can access personal information, such as photos and complete address books, without permission and then upload that information to their servers where they are used for unknown purposes.
In his letter to the FTC, Senator Schumer citied a New York Times story regarding a vulnerability in the Android and iOS operating systems that can allow apps to access private data. Most consumers would not likely consent to such access, Senator Schumer states.
The FTC has recently found that online apps provide almost no information about what information, if any, is collected, how it is used or who has access to it.
Schumer believes the burden of app security should fall on the device manufacturers. NCCC agrees that device manufacturers should step up to the plate to protect consumer privacy, especially when there is no disclaimer that states that private information stored on their phone and or iPad could be copied and used by third party applications.
Some app companies have recently reported that they would stop the practice of collecting personal information from users’ address books, but we are still unsure how this practice is being enforced, if at all.
“We’re basically asking the company nicely to stop misusing our personally information,” says Brian Reitter, NCCC Vice President. “The company in turn says that it will. But how do we now the company is doing the right thing, especially with no oversight or policing? Without some sort of consumer protection measure in place, we’re basically giving these companies the go-ahead to mistreat our information and telling them that it’s alright to do so. That’s not right.”