Google, Facebook, Apple Set for Senate Talks

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – A U.S. Senate subcommittee chaired by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is expected to have Google and Apple back in the U.S. Senate for a second round of talks concerning location privacy. However, Facebook will be included in the new testimony.

The upcoming hearing titled, “Consumer Privacy and Protection in the Mobile Marketplace” is expected to focus on company notification policies regarding customer locations.

Some of the big names set to testify include Facebook Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor, Google Director of Public Policy Alan Davidson, and Apple Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs Catherine Novelli.

Despite the addition of Facebook in the testimony, notable entities that will be missing include Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice, both of whom testified during last week’s hearing.

Upon being caught up in the controversy, Apple has insisted that their data collection is kept anonymous. The company also issued a software update that secured location data and deleted user information from its database upon disabling tracking by the user.

Google has been accused of similar tracking methods through location data from Wi-Fi hotspots.

The interest in Facebook appears to result from the launch of Facebook’s “Places” feature, which allows users to update their location through their mobile device.

During the previous hearing, Google and Apple executives testified in front of another Senate subcommittee lead by Senator Al Franken (D-MN). During that testimony, Apple was accused of providing contradictory statements on the issue of location privacy.

The new hearing marks the latest development in privacy concerns over mobile device tracking.