Democratic Lawmakers Want the FTC to Investigate Apple and Google


© Reuters. Democratic Lawmakers Want the FTC to Investigate Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) – Report

By Sam Boughedda

The Wall Street Journal said Friday that four Democratic lawmakers want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple (NASDAQ:) and Google (NASDAQ:), due to the companies engaging in unfair and deceptive practices.

The unfair and deceptive practices reportedly involve collecting and selling mobile-phone users’ personal information.

A letter from the lawmakers, quoted by the WSJ, reportedly says the companies “knowingly facilitated these harmful practices by building advertising-specific tracking IDs into their mobile operating systems.”

Apple and Google have recently taken steps to reduce the ability to collect user data through mobile ad identifiers, with users now being able to opt out of having their identifiers transmitted to apps.

The letter, which was signed by lawmakers, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), and Rep. Sara Jacobs (D., Calif.), said that until recently, “Apple enabled this tracking ID by default and required consumers to dig through confusing phone settings to turn it off. Google still enables this tracking identifier by default, and until recently did not even provide consumers with an opt-out.”

The letter states that the identifiers have fueled the unregulated data broker market, adding that it’s “possible to easily identify a particular consumer in a dataset of ‘anonymous’ location records by looking to see where they sleep at night.”

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