Apple answers Congress' questions on customer privacy

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"We hope that the responses below are helpful in understanding these topics and make clear Apple's position that customers are entitled to transparency, choice, and control over their personal information", the letter concludes, while offering to brief lawmakers about the subject.

But after Apple received an inquiry from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, they were forced to respond and their answer to the matter was a flat out "no".

"Apple does not and can not monitor what developers do with the customer data they have collected, or prevent the onward transfer of that data, nor do we have the ability to ensure a developer's compliance with their own privacy policies or local law", Apple wrote.

Apple has responded to the questions [PDF] by assuring authorities that they believe in that privacy is a fundamental human right, and all their products are created to minimize the collection of data from customers. "These statements and actions raise questions about how Apple device users' data is protected and when it is shared and compiled".

Apple pointedly emphasized that different companies approach data collection differently.

"The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers", Powderly writes. The reports, as well as other information provided to the lawmakers, have apparently raised questions about the privacy practices of both companies.

A similar letter as the one sent Cook from Rep. Walden was also mailed to Alphabet CEO Larry Page. "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. Siri also does not share spoken words, said Apple. The letters were signed by Chairman Greg Walden (R, OR) and subcommittee chairmen Gregg Harper (R, MS), Marsha Blackburn (R., TN), and Robert Latta (R., OH).

In a letter to federal lawmakers, the tech giant insisted that iPhones do not listen to what users are saying and said third-party app developers don't have access to audio data. Facebook accused Analytica of violating policies, while researchers who created the quiz app behind the affair claimed that, not only did they do nothing wrong, but they were not the only party to collect data in that way. That reflects what Apple has said in its privacy policies.

In a response Tuesday, Apple reiterated that it collects as little data as possible as a practice.

Powderly emphasizes that Apple values consumer privacy.

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