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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:23 AM   #1
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U.S. Senator Asks FTC to Investigate Apple and Google Over Photo Uploads to Appmakers [Updated]




Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate reports that Apple and Google give app developers access to videos and photos on users smartphones.




From Senator Schumer's press release:
Quote:
"When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private," said Schumer. "Smartphone developers have an obligation to protect the private content of their users and not allow them to be veritable treasure troves of private, personal information that can then be uploaded and distributed without the consumer's consent."

According to reports by independent technologists, two separate loopholes, one in the Apple operating system and one in the Android operating system, allow apps to gather users' photos. In the case of Apple, if a user allows the application to use location data, which is used for GPS-based applications, they also allow access to the user's photo and video files that can be uploaded to outside servers. In the case of Android-based applications, the user only needs to allow the application to use Internet services as part of the app for third parties to gain access to photo albums.
Apple has attracted Congressional attention over its privacy policies several times in the past, once last year over location-tracking issues, and again earlier this year over the discovery that iOS app Path was uploading entire user address books to its servers.

However, The Verge reports that the photo uploading ability Schumer refers to is a bug, and a fix is on the way in an upcoming version of the iOS software.

Update: According to Senator Schumer, representatives from both Apple and Google have agreed to meet with him.

Article Link: U.S. Senator Asks FTC to Investigate Apple and Google Over Photo Uploads to Appmakers [Updated]
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:25 AM   #2
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Bugs are a part of life. Seems like they acknowledge it is an issue and are working on a fix.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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I've never understood how Congress can choose to get involved with these super nitty-gritty issues of life, yet the American public doesn't think they should be allowed to get involved with basic things Americans need like healthcare or investment in future industries to create jobs.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:34 AM   #4
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...congress pays attention to oversights in software design instead of something important, like net neutrality or the economy.

It's like they're looking for press or something... Obviously Apple and Google aren't trying to allow 3rd parties to violate people's privacy (though they might be trying to do it themselves).
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:36 AM   #5
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Looks like somebody wants folks to know their name and face during an election year.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:39 AM   #6
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In other words: "I don't want those photos of me doing things I shouldn't have been doing to go public. And, if they do go public. . . that's not my weenus."
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:42 AM   #7
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Our tax dollars hard....I mean hardly at work.

Seriously....go solve poverty or the economy or something that really matters.

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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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I concur...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chukronos View Post
In other words: "I don't want those photos of me doing things I shouldn't have been doing to go public. And, if they do go public. . . that's not my weenus."
Ha ha I was thinking the same exact thing! It's probably the main reason why he's all over this.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:44 AM   #9
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Just Friday I thought to myself, "I wonder where that media whore Schumer disappeared to?" Well, guess this answers that question.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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There is no chance in hell Schumer understands the issue. Zero. Or just about anyone in Congress, for that matter.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:46 AM   #11
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Having solved all other enormous fiscal and international problems, yeah great use of US Congress time to worry about Apple and Google. With idiots like this in office, it's no wonder we are faltering.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:46 AM   #12
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For once I agrees with them to stop these loopholes to screw with our privacy.

I'm sick and tried of Facebook, Google and evan Apple of these invading my private content and space.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:48 AM   #13
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This would make some sense if the two companies were ignoring the problem. As it stands, this seems like a big waste of time relative to the bigger issues already mentioned by others.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmccall View Post
Ha ha I was thinking the same exact thing! It's probably the main reason why he's all over this.
That's ridiculous. Get real. No application has the right to my data without my permission. Applications already violate our privacy more than I would like (in my opinion, apps should only be permitted to read cookies that they create, not the cookes from other apps). But taking my address book data or photos is beyond anything reasonable. Congress is only involved because Apple/Google were too stupid to recognize this flaw themselves. While bugs happen, I suspect this is more about everyone working so fast, there's no time to fully evaluate whether these kinds of flaws exist, although I think this particular violation is so outrageous, I never would have thought that any app would even attempt it, which is probably why whatever tools Apple uses to test apps probably didn't test for it.

Congress will never bother passing any laws on this, but it won't be necessary anyway because I believe Apple/Google will rectify this quite soon. Having said that, I certainly wouldn't mind if there was legislation in this area, but the downside of legislation is that it can't address technology changes in the future. But you know the EU is going to address this - they're much more paranoid about privacy than the U.S. is.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:52 AM   #15
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Ask Chuck Shumer if he could spend that time making a (1000 days overdue) budget for the Senate.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:54 AM   #16
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Apple is a huge company and leaving these "front and back doors" open to Apps is nothing short of sloppy. For a company that is normally tight as a nut on this sort of thing it is unforgivable....well not quite.

The problem is so widespread, Apps (Path i think was a genuine mistake) have been syphoning off Address Book data, Photos etc since all this mobile OS has emerged.

I personally find the deliberate use of ambiguous terminology in privacy statements or disclosures frankly sickening. In fact loads of Apps "take" or even in real terms "steal" your data without any disclosure at all. How many people would say OK if the so called PRIVACY statements actually said what they are doing ie. "This app will copy all your contact data yes all of it onto ours/or third party servers and we retain the right to use/sell/manipulate this data in any way we want, agreeing to this will allow us store all this data forever."

...does anyone see my point....dont get me wrong i think all these APIs are useful when used in a careful and regulated way but companies have taken the piss....buy hey now they have most of the data they will ever need anyway.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:54 AM   #17
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Oh what shock when I open up MacRumors and I see a photo of New York's own Chuck Schumer. Here comes a flood of political debate posts.

For a few of the people that just want to hate:
He's been out Senator since 1998, and there's a good reason. He's actually not a nose-up money-hoarding snob like 9 out of 10 politicians out there. He's very much for-the-people, and he has no problem taking part in small-town events, large-scale fundraisers, and otherwise "insignificant" events that most politicians wouldn't even recognize. He's a very concerned individual, and this is one of the many examples. He does a lot that goes under the national media's radar. As we know, only the mud-slinging goes on there. He's not about that in the least.

For the rest that just want to turn this thread into Political ridicule, I can do nothing about that. People have their minds made up no matter what happens, and many are too stubborn to change and realize when they're just being obtuse. Well, I'm not here to heal the blind. Just sharing what I feel.

As far as this thread goes, Chuck Schumer has every right to question why this is happening. If any other politician had questioned such practices, you'd all be ridiculing them instead. You can't win against the stubborn. People would complain no matter who it was. Since it just happened to be Schumer, let's all hate on Schumer. I love it; especially coming from those OUTSIDE of New York that have absolutely little to no idea what he does within the state.

It really grinds my gears that people criticize a place or a person from a place where they've never been, for no reason other than to hear themselves talk. I can already smell the flood of negative votes on this post already. Oh well, the only other logical post in this thread was voted down, too.

Funny how anyone with different thoughts or ideas gets voted down no matter how good a point they make; especially coming from a bunch folks who claim they believe in how to "Think Different".

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post
That's ridiculous. Get real. No application has the right to my data without my permission. Applications already violate our privacy more than I would like (in my opinion, apps should only be permitted to read cookies that they create, not the cookes from other apps). But taking my address book data or photos is beyond anything reasonable. Congress is only involved because Apple/Google were too stupid to recognize this flaw themselves. While bugs happen, I suspect this is more about everyone working so fast, there's no time to fully evaluate whether these kinds of flaws exist, although I think this particular violation is so outrageous, I never would have thought that any app would even attempt it, which is probably why whatever tools Apple uses to test apps probably didn't test for it.

Congress will never bother passing any laws on this, but it won't be necessary anyway because I believe Apple/Google will rectify this quite soon. Having said that, I certainly wouldn't mind if there was legislation in this area, but the downside of legislation is that it can't address technology changes in the future. But you know the EU is going to address this - they're much more paranoid about privacy than the U.S. is.
Thank you.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 11:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will do good View Post
For once I agrees with them to stop these loopholes to screw with our privacy.

I'm sick and tried of Facebook, Google and evan Apple of these invading my private content and space.
How long will it take some wacko right-wing nutjob says that preventing this kind of stuff is anti-business, and that they should have access to this stuff so they could make more money?
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 12:00 PM   #19
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The reason why I don't worry about app developers looking at my pictures is the same reason I don't worry about the government monitoring my calls/texts: for every picture of a hot, naked girl they find, they will have had to look at hundreds of pictures of icanhascheezburger, thousands of pictures of funny Facebook posts, tens of thousands of pictures of drunk people doing stupid stuff, and hundreds of thousands of pictures of ugly, fat people. Talk about a job with a high suicide rate
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 12:00 PM   #20
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/9A405)

Why the focus on mobile? Desktop OSes have had access to this kind of stuff since forever. I don't get it.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 12:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by raremage View Post
There is no chance in hell Schumer understands the issue. Zero. Or just about anyone in Congress, for that matter.
No doubt. I was thinking, "I wonder which tube these photos go down?"
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 12:01 PM   #22
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This is the same guy who said we need tougher gun control the day after 9/11.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 12:02 PM   #23
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The country just increased it national debt by ~50% in the last 2 years, real unemployment is ~15%, real inflation is ~10%, and this ass clown is wasting time with Google and Apple over this issue?

No wonder this country is broken.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 12:04 PM   #24
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This is the same guy who said we need tougher gun control the day after 9/11.
With the correct definition: Gun Control is using both hands, he is right.
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Old Mar 5, 2012, 12:10 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by SkippyThorson View Post
He's been out Senator since 1998, and there's a good reason. He's actually not a nose-up money-hoarding snob like 9 out of 10 politicians out there. He's very much for-the-people, and he has no problem taking part in small-town events, large-scale fundraisers, and otherwise "insignificant" events that most politicians wouldn't even recognize. He's a very concerned individual, and this is one of the many examples. He does a lot that goes under the national media's radar. As we know, only the mud-slinging goes on there. He's not about that in the least.
He is "for the people" yet he voted for legislation which required every private citizen to use private money to buy a private product for personal use from a private sector company or face jail time.

He called a flight attendant a 'bitch' for doing her job.

Sounds like an upstanding Senator.......
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