Following a Wall Street Journal report last month, that claimed Google is reportedly allowing third-party app developers scan through Gmail accounts, the US Congress had written to the search giant and Apple asking if they were invading users’ privacy and eavesdropping on them. The iPhone-maker has now replied to the concerns raised by the lawmakers saying that the company’s products and services do not snoop on its customers.
According to Reuters, Representatives Greg Walden, Marsha Blackburn, Gregg Harper and Robert Latta wrote to Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook and Alphabet Inc's Chief Executive Larry Page in July. They asked the companies whether their services or smartphones could “collect ‘non-triggered’ audio data from users’ conversations near a smartphone in order to hear a ‘trigger’ phrase, such as Okay Google or Hey Siri." Apple, in a letter to Walden, a Republican from Oregon who is the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that iPhones do not record audio while listening for Siri wakeup commands and Siri does not share spoken words.
It said that the apps need users approval to access microphones and that apps must display a clear signal that they are listening. Alphabet did not respond to questions about whether it had replied to lawmakers, Reuters reported. Apple also wrote that it had removed apps from its App Store over privacy violations.
In India as well, Apple refused to approve TRAI’s DND app on the App Store because “it violates the privacy of Apple users.” Apple doesn't like sharing its user data with any third party apps. According to the company, it has rejected about 36,000 apps from among the 100,000 submitted each week for violations of its guidelines. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman said that “both companies have been cooperative thus far. The Committee looks forward to reviewing and analyzing the responses as we consider next steps.”
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