The House Energy and Commerce Committee issued letters to six giant tech companies Monday regarding privacy issues of millions of mobile phone users.
It has been reported that these companies were tracking the users' whereabouts through the location tracking services.
The tech giants that have come under scanner are Apple Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Nokia Corp, Research In Motion Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.
“I want to know whether consumers have been informed of what is being tracked and stored by Apple and Google and whether those tracking and storage features can be disabled.”--Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois
Attorney General of Illinois writes to Apple, Google
On Monday, Attorney General of Illinois Lisa Madigan wrote a letter to Apple and Google to answer the questions related to tracking the users' location.
In a letter written to Apple's Chief Executive Steve Jobs, the committee has asked about the location data, and how and why does it track users.
Madigan has raised many questions like: why are they storing the information? What type of location data of the customers are being stored and duration of the storage of data? Is any of the information being accessed by a third party? Can this location data identify the individual, and do they share the data about the users with the advertisers?
While discussing about the location tracking service, Madigan said, "I want to know whether consumers have been informed of what is being tracked and stored by Apple and Google and whether those tracking and storage features can be disabled.”
Madigan has asked the companies to reply to the letter no later than May 6, 2011.
Apple, Google under stringent scrutiny
The location tracking services have brought the technology companies have come under scanner.
Privacy has become a cause to worry, as people store information about their personal life on their mobile devices.
Previously, Apple and Google had said that customers can avoid the data collection by dis-enabling the location based service button. However, this consequently disabled the maps and navigation services on the phone.
It's believed that despite turning off the service, the companies were able to track down certain users.