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Apple, Google Answer to Senate About Privacy

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Apple, Google Answer to Senate About Privacy

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 22: People use their smartphones to photograph a performer from the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey production "BARNUM 200" as she waves from atop an elephant in the middle of 3rd Street NW on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol during the annual Pachyderm Parade on Capitol Hill March 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of circus legend P.T. Barnum. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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After both Apple and Google were accused of logging and collecting mobile phone information, the two tech companies were called to Washington, D.C. to explain their actions, reports said Tuesday.

"Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers," Guy "Bud" Tribble, Apple's vice president for software technology told the U.S. Judiciary subcommittee on privacy and technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. He also said that Apple doesn't track user information and the company shares "the committee's concerns about the collection and potential misuse of all customer data, particularly personal information."

Google's talking points didn't vary much from Apple's.

"We don't collect any location information—any at all—through our location services on Android devices unless the user specifically chooses to share this information with Google," Alan Davidson, Google’s director of public policy, told the subcommittee.

Neither company committed to changing the way it will do business. The senators themselves began discussing changes to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, but several were confused at what should be done.

The Department of Justice also joined the hearing in hopes of getting wireless providers to collect and store information on users -- so the department can use the information to find suspects. This showed us literally what this stored data will likely be used for, and I don't think it made anyone feel any better.

The government and the public should be worried about collected information, especially if it can be handed out to law enforcement agencies without permission. If companies give the government our data than we will be ruled by an omniscient Big Brother and our autonomy and basic human rights will be lost.

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