Charles Schumer

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate reports that suggest Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems are automatically uploading contacts and photos from phones without a user’s consent. Apple changed its privacy policies last month after a hacker discovered that an application called “Path” was secretly uploading its user’s address books. The Cupertino-based firm said apps now require explicit user consent for this practice to occur. “These uses go well beyond what a reasonable user understands himself to be consenting to when he allows an app to access data on the phone for purposes of the app’s functionality,” Schumer said in his letter to the FTC. Schumer said it’s not clear if the terms of service, which should protect a user’s rights, are even being monitored or enforced. ”Smartphone makers should be required to put in place safety measures to ensure third party applications are not able to violate a user’s personal privacy by stealing photographs or data that the user did not consciously decide to make public,” he said. “When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private.”

[via Reuters]