Is Your iPhone Spying on You? Here’s What Apple Told Lawmakers

Apple has assured U.S. lawmakers that it is not spying on iPhone users. The company clams third-party apps are not doing so either.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In July, the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Larry Page asking for clarification on how consumer data protection is gathered and shared.

"Only a few weeks ago Apple announced changes to its App Store rules that were characterized as attempting to limit how much data third-party app developers can collect from Apple device users," the letter reads. "These statements and actions raise questions about how Apple device users’ data is protected and when it is shared and compiled.”

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On Tuesday, Apple Director of Government Affairs Timothy Powderly responded to that letter, in a 19-page document answering each of the questions in detail.

To concerns about microphone recording, he notes that users can give and revoke microphone access from third-party apps, and that recorded Siri interactions are tied to a random user ID, rather than your Apple ID. Apple does not provide them to third-party developers, he adds.

Powderly emphasizes that Apple values consumer privacy. He claims that consumer data is not central to Apple's business model, and directs the senators to Apple's privacy website. He doesn't deny, however, that Apple collects extensive consumer data.

To questions about GPS location information, he responds that users can turn location-based services on and off in their privacy settings. "Unlike other companies, Apple does not obtain a historical record of location data associated with a customer's name or AppleID for any of our services," he writes. "Nor does Apple use identifiable location information for targeted advertising."

You can read the whole thing for yourself on Scribd

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she wrote about everything from artificial intelligence to social media and the internet of things to. She had a particular focus on smart home, reviewing multiple devices. In her downtime, you can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.