According to the latest report, the Energy and Commerce Committee has sent letters to the CEOs of Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. regarding the aspects of user-data tracking. The letter wants the company to provide an accurate representation of how user-data is being collected, used and shared with third-parties, if any. It brings some serious issues to the limelight, regarding how Google and Apple have been dealing with user-specific data in the past. A recent report had said that Google was allowing third-parties to access user-data from Gmail. This was happening after a claim by Google, which said otherwise.
“In June 2017, Google announced changes to Gmail that would halt scanning the contents of a user’s email to personalize advertisements to “keep privacy and security paramount.” Last week, reports surfaced that in spite of this policy change, Google still permitted third parties to access the contents of users’ emails, including message text, email signatures, and receipt data, to personalize content. In the context of free services offered by third parties, these practices raise questions about how representations made by a platform are carried out in practice”, says the letter, which is available in the official website of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
In the case of Apple, the committee raises almost the same concerns. The committee adds that, even though Apple seems to boast about the security of personal information, users are finding apps that are contrary to the concepts. The letters also raise questions regarding how Google and Apple are working on detection of hotwords using Assistant and Siri, and it also enquires whether there is non-triggered recording of audio content from users. Both the CEOs are expected to provide an answer to these letters by 23rd of July. So far, there has been no comment from both companies regarding the accusations.