Charles Schumer: Smartphone apps need investigation
New York Sen. Charles Schumer wants to make sure no one is taking private photos from New Yorkers’ phones.
Schumer called on the Federal Trade Commission yesterday to investigate whether smartphone applications sold for Apple and Android gadgets are stealing private photos and address books.
His request followed reports alleging that numerous applications are taking advantage of software loopholes — one in the Apple operating system and one in the Android operating system — that allow apps to gather users’ photos and private information and transmit them elsewhere.
“When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that — private,” Schumer said. “Smartphone developers have an obligation to protect the private content of their users.”
Schumer pointed to one application, which he did not name, on Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad, that was able to upload entire address books with names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses to its own servers without a customer’s consent.
“It sends shivers up the spine to think that one’s personal photos, address book, and who-knows-what-else can be obtained and even posted online — without consent,” Schumer added.
Schumer is asking the FTC to investigate the extent to which the “privacy invasion” is commonplace and whether or not the practice constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice.
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyAEpstein