back to article Apple and Google wriggle on US Senate hot seat

When questioned by US senators at a hearing on digital privacy, Apple and Google execs spent most of their time successfully bobbing and weaving, but were thrown off-balance when asked about location-grabbing patents and drunk-driving apps. Tuesday morning's hearing – "Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell …


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  1. Ian Michael Gumby

    Smoke and mirrors...

    All of this is just for show.

    The US government will not cause any real change in either Googles or apples policies..

    1. Shannon Jacobs

      You want small government?

      How about starting with smaller corporations? THEN it makes more sense to have smaller government, too.

      I'm convinced the REAL problem is that most of the professional politicians in America are bribed with campaign contributions. The largest bribers are the largest companies. Sometimes they are just buying insurance against intrusions (I think this is more true when they donate to Democrats), but mostly they are investing in favorable legislation (with most GOP and neo-GOP donations). They do NOT want more competition and more freedom or anything like that. What they want are LARGER profits, and that's how the law gets written.

      There are some ethical politicians, but they are generally removed at the next election, and more so in these new days of unlimited corporate donations. There are also many highly ethical businessmen, but they are NOT the ones who are bribing the politicians.

  2. jake Silver badge


    ipfw on the routers drops most of !GooMyFaceYouMSiTwit-space on the floor around these parts. It's not only a good idea, it should be the law.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Apple dodging bullets ..... or firing on all cylinders?

    "We do not share personally identifiable information with third parties for their marketing purposes without our customers' explicit consent," he continued, "and we require all third-party application developers to agree to specific restrictions protecting our customers' privacy." .... although there is nothing to prevent us from using such information ourselves for whatever purposes can be dreamt up to work in DreamWorks, is something which appears to be missing in the presented evidence, Rik Myslewski in San Francisco. Such an economy of truth may have everything to do with proprietary trade secrets which render a competitive commercial advantage so beloved of the dog eat dog capitalist society/bear pit/bull ring.

    And does Government and do not Governments and Executive Administrations not realise, that they are Applications and Special Applications of ProgramMING run by IT SME?

    "Davidson, to put it kindly, wriggled." ..... Thanks for that beautiful descriptive, Rik, which is so apt in what was something of a squirmish in the Senate ......

  4. EyeCU

    Robocop was an accurate prediction of the future

    Private police forces, governments being controlled by corporations, corporations with more rights than either the Government or ordinary citizens, environment being poisoned in the grab for more and more profit and the right to privacy long since dead. Stop complaining and spend your money citizen

    On another point:

    'generally we submit patent applications for many, many different things. Often they are fairly speculative'

    And thus summing up the whole problem with the American patent system.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Digital privacy.

    How about a *thorough* review of the PATRIOT act for starters?

    But I think most people reading these pages know that Apple and Google (and Microsoft if they had a bigger mobile presence) will do what they can get away with.

    Until someone stops them *from* getting away with it.

    Ask yourself two little questions.

    Do they have a *need* to know this information in order to provide the services *you* pay for?

    Do they have any sort of *right* to ask for it?

    If they answer to both is "no" then WTF are they doing collecting it?

  6. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Retained data is the problem

    @"We do not share personally identifiable information with third parties for their marketing purposes without our customers' explicit consent".

    They collect and *retain* our data, then they say is it ok to share this retained data with other companies. They have it the wrong way around. It should be they ask us if its ok to retain our data in the first place, then they can share it, but only if we have given them permission to retain our data in the first place.

    There's a huge different between instantaneous data sent to them and retaining and accumulating our data for weeks, months, even years.

    All this retention of everything we say, everywhere we go is the real problem. They can data mine for example instantaneous search requests no problem, but they are not satisfied with that, they want to store everything we say and do and that is taking it way to far.

    But they know they can extract a lot more from retained our data and that is why they seek to retain it. There is no upper limit on what they seek to do and legally that needs to be put in place because otherwise they will take it to any extreme they can get away with.

  7. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Governments are responsible to the people.

    Google/Apple/Microsoft are responsible to the (majority) shareholders. The guys who own 20% or more of the stock in question.

    If Brin, Sergey and the Steves et al are making good money doing what they are doing, why should they voluntarily change doing it any differently?

    Canada has excellent privacy protection laws for personal information. The US and UK need to pull their thumb out and get in line with that.

  8. MurrayH

    Personally Identifiable Information

    ""The Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to corporations," Franken said".

    That depends upon your viewpoint. While I am sure the Framers intent was primarily to protect citizens from abuse by government, the focus of the 4th Ammendment is protection of citizens, and their rights under the law, regardless of who the potential abuser is.

    'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,"

    The bottom line for me is -- My information and actions have value. They have a value to me personally and I have a default expectation of privacy. They also have a value to others (or corporations would not look to be collecting them). If someone takes something of value to me, without my knowledge or permission, they are stealing. For the average Joe, they do not realize what is being collected, how it is being used (and by whom) and the ramifications of it being abused or left un-protected. That is just plain wrong. The warnings and information need to be clear and disclosed in the same manner used for cigarettes.

  9. Graham Marsden

    "we submit patent applications for many, many different things...

    "...Often they are fairly speculative"

    And at other times they're ridiculously speculative or are blatantly obvious or there is clear prior art, all of which *should* stop any such patent from being granted if it wasn't for the fact that the US Patent System is utterly broken and thus open to exploitation by Patent Trolls...!

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