More privacy fears raised about Apple, Google tracking your smartphone

Cong. Edward J. Markey has asked Apple (AAPL) founder Steve Jobs to do some explaining by no later than May 12 about the discovery by British computer security experts that the location of owners of iPhone and iPads is regularly collected when the devices are synched.

He was responding to a report in The Guardian.

Could the Massachusetts Democrat may be sending a similar note Larry Page over at Google (GOOG)?

The Wall Street Journal now is reporting that Android smartphones are tracking smartphone users’ locations and sending the data to Google.

Can full-blown Congressional hearings be far behind?

Today’s privacy concerns result from the promise of location-based services, which through your location can help keep you in touch with your friends or help retailers send you offers when you are near their stores.

The Journal said: “Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people's locations via their cellphones. These databases could help them tap the $2.9 billion market for location-based services—expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014, according to research firm Gartner Inc.”

Security analyst Samy Kamkar, who six years ago at age 19 pleaded guilty to causing MySpace to crash, has found an HTC Android phone collected location every data every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour. The phone also transmitted the name, location and signal strength of nearby Wi-Fi networks and unique phone identifiers.

Google declined comment.

Apple previously told Congress it “intermittently” collects data on iPhone users and Wi-Fi networks. The Journal last year reported that Google and Apple share such data with third parties without consumer knowledge or consent.

Appolicious reported earlier this month that federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether apps makers are violating federal laws by improperly sharing information with ad networks.


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