House Dems demand meeting with Apple over privacy policy for iPhone, iPad apps

Two prominent House Democrats demanded a briefing with Apple over its privacy policies for mobile device applications in a letter to CEO Tim Cook on Thursday.

Apple had responded to questions from the two Democrats, Reps. Henry Waxman (Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), earlier this month, but the lawmakers were not satisfied.

{mosads}”The March 2 reply we received from Apple does not answer a number of the questions we raised about the company’s efforts to protect the privacy and security of its mobile device users,” they wrote.

The lawmakers are concerned about reports that apps on the iPhone and iPad are able to access users’ address books without their consent. In Thursday’s letter, they also pointed to a report that apps are able to access users’ private photos.

“To help us understand these issues, we request that you make available representatives to brief our staff on the Energy and Commerce Committee,” they wrote.

Waxman is the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee and Butterfield is the top Democrat on the subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

Following the Democrats’ first letter from last month, Apple changed its policy to require that third-party apps receive explicit approval from users before accessing their address books. The company already required that users opt in to allow apps to access their location.

Apple did not respond to a request to comment on Thursday’s letter, but in its response to the lawmakers’ first letter, Apple said it has an “unwavering commitment to giving our customers clear and transparent notice, choice, and control over their personal information.”

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