Apple will testify on data privacy policies before US Senate on Sept. 26

in General Discussion
Vice President of Software Technology Bud Tribble is set to appear Sept. 26 before a Senate panel to talk about user privacy, along with execs from Google, Amazon and other companies.

Capitol Hill

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing later this month on consumer privacy protections, and Apple is among the top tech companies that will be represented there.

The hearing, on "Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy," has been convened by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The hearing is scheduled for the morning of September 26.

The panel, the committee announced on a press release, "will examine privacy policies of top technology and communications firms, review the current state of consumer data privacy, and offer members the opportunity to discuss possible approaches to safeguarding privacy more effectively."

Bud Tribble, Apple's vice president of software technology, is listed among the witnesses, along with representatives of Google, Amazon, Twitter, AT&T, and Charter Communications. The witness list, the committee said, is subject to change.

Notable for their absence from the witness list is Facebook, the company responsible for the Cambridge Analytica brouhaha earlier this year that brought concerns about big tech's privacy safeguards to the fore. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in April, before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

"Consumers deserve clear answers and standards on data privacy protection," Thune said in a statement. "This hearing will provide leading technology companies and internet service providers an opportunity to explain their approaches to privacy, how they plan to address new requirements from the European Union and California, and what Congress can do to promote clear privacy expectations without hurting innovation."

In August, Apple's director of federal government affairs Timothy Powerly wrote a letter to another Congressional committee chairman, Greg Walden of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in response to questions about Apple's privacy initiatives.

"We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data," the letter said. "When we do collect data, we're transparent about it and work to disassociate it from the user. We utilize on-device processing to minimize data collection by Apple. 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 advertising."


  • Reply 1 of 7
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    I wonder how many people, if any, switched to or chose Apple because of its stance on privacy. Unless it's all smoke and mirrors Apple seems to have taken more actions to protect user privacy and data than any other tech company.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Will these same people appear before the Senate the following week for a hearing on “Examining Safeguards for Government Access to Consumer’s Private Data?  
  • Reply 3 of 7
    The short version: “Keep your mitts off our stuff!”
  • Reply 4 of 7
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 403member
    Apple products and duck duck go.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Apple is second to none. Google sells you to the highest bidder.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    nunzy said:
    Apple is second to none. Google sells you to the highest bidder.
    Google is the highest bidder. When you dig in to it, yes they are collecting an insane amount of data that no organisation should ever have. But (unlike Facebook) they are super guarded about how much of it they share. They know it’s their frown jewels. Historically Android has been a huge enabler for third parties to collect data as well , but that’s subtly different from sharing what they have collected.

    The threat to to privacy between Facebook and Google is different:

    - FB is mostly opt in to services that frankly you can live a happy and functional life without, but they casually and carelessly allow third parties access to the information

    - Google is much more insidious, collects way way more data, and is sitting on a mountain of it that they are trying to work out how to monetise. But they are also far more careful than FB about not casually sharing personsl info with 3rd parties. 

    So long as you did not choose a career path of “social media influencer” , anyone can live without Facebook & instagram, but getting through modern life without search and maps is a whole different ballgame.

    if a government collected as much info on people as Google, it would be viewed as an outrageous violation of human rights. Now they don’t have to , and can just order Google to hand over when they need it.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    uroshnor said:
    nunzy said:
    Apple is second to none. Google sells you to the highest bidder.
    if a government collected as much info on people as Google, it would be viewed as an outrageous violation of human rights. Now they don’t have to , and can just order Google to hand over when they need it.
    The last sentence is the biggest reason why government has not cracked down on all this data collection. Technology has drastically driven down the cost of storing data, and made processing power so cheap that marriage of the two was inevitable. Commercial interests do all the collection and “pre-processing” of the data, and government buys the “commercially available” data it wants...or just shows up with a National Security Letter (NSL) and gets it with essentially ZERO accountability. Anybody who keeps up with the news knows that the “secret” FISA court can be manipulated, again, with no accountability. 

    The core of the problem is that business and government interests feel entitled to use any data they are able to get their hands on, in ANY way that benefits them. Privacy policies are essentially worthless, because they have loopholes big enough to drive a truck through! 

    From a privacy point of view, the most effective way to prevent the abuse is to prevent the collection in the first place, and that is the place to fight it.  Apple’s policy of designing to minimize collection of data is a step in the right direction, as is the use of hard encryption, but time will tell how well that policy is carried out. IMessage may have end to end encryption,which is good, but that doesn’t mean much if a user stores their messages in iCloud, where Apple holds a master key to the content.  Also, I’m still waiting for a firewall built into iOS that will allow a user to see ALL inbound and outbound traffic, AND enables the user to allow or deny access, onetime or always, for any app.  If that “breaks” an application, then let the developer justify to the user why that connection should be allowed. 
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