| March 22
March 22 U.S. lawmakers sent letters on Thursday
requesting information from more than 30 popular iPhone
applications developers as part of an inquiry into how software
companies collect private consumer data.
Recipients of the letter, including Twitter, Facebook
, Foursquare and Path, were asked to provide information
about the user data that is collected when consumers download
their apps -- and how that data is used.
The letter came after several popular apps, including Path,
the social networking tool, were found accessing and uploading
address book data from users' iPhones without permission,
sparking a massive online controversy last month.
Representatives Henry Waxman and G.K. Butterfield, two
Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent the
letter to 33 developers that had apps listed under the "iPhone
Essential" area, a digital storefront curated by Apple in its
App Store. The app makers have until April 12 to respond.
Apple, which was included as a recipient to the
most recent letter, has also been tarnished by the scrutiny cast
on its app makers; the iPhone and iPad maker has long said it
subjects its app developers to a strict review before allowing
new products into the App Store.
After the address book controversy emerged last month,
Waxman and Butterfield sent a similar letter to Apple to request
information about its App Store's consumer protection policies.
The apps inquiry is part of a broader tide of interest
gathering on Capitol Hill around Internet privacy issues. In
January, legislators including Senator Ed Markey of
Massachusetts criticized Google's plans to consolidate
its privacy policies, saying it potentially violated a 2010
agreement that the web giant had struck with the Federal Trade
Commission to improve its privacy policies.