Energy and Commerce Committee in Congress sent letters in
July to Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, and Larry Page, CEO of Google's
parent company Alphabet, asking whether their smartphones
listen to their users and collect data. In its response, Apple said
that they do not listen to what users say and that third-party apps
cannot access the audio data without permission.
Powderly, Apple's director of federal government affairs,
a letter obtained by CNN, "The iPhone doesn't listen to
consumers except to recognize the clear, unambiguous audio trigger
'Hey Siri.’ The customer is not our product, and our business model
does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally
identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to
believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design
our products and services to minimize our collection of customer
data," Powderly added.
been no word yet if Google has responded.
questions were raised by lawmakers in response to rumors that some
companies, including Amazon, Facebook, and others collect data from
explained that an iPhone will display a visual alert when Siri is
listening to a user’s request. Apple also requires third-party apps
to display an indicator when they're capturing data using the
microphone, and users must first grant access to the app to access
the mic. This ostensibly refers to apps that are used to make
recordings and use voice search.
latest news comes on the heels of a new report that accuses Google
of tracking a user’s locations without permission. The Associated
Google captures and saves your location history even if you’ve
disabled location tracking on your phone.
becoming evident is that many high-tech companies, particularly
those dependent on advertising, have few ethical boundaries in their
efforts to capture more and more of our personal information.
Consider that these companies have thousands of engineers being paid
to come up with new ideas to make their companies' product more
effective and to grow the revenue.
a Google engineer who has access to your location and your
microphone. He or she could decide to develop the capability to
listen to you every time you visit your doctor to learn about
your health and sell it to insurance companies. This is
hypothetical and there's no indication it's being done, but all the
tools are there right on your phone to do so.
really needed is a code of conduct that defines their limits,
whether it's something developed internally or by a government
agency. So far few companies have provided any signs of doing this
on their own. Apple may be the exception because their business
model is built around the profits from their hardware, not from