Is your iPhone spying on you? Here’s what Apple told lawmakers

441208-tim-cook

441208-tim-cook

The new AirPower wireless charger and iPhones are displayed in the showroom after the new product announcement at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus in Cupertino, Calif., Sept. 12, 2017.

"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.

On Tuesday, Apple Director of Government Affairs Timothy Powderly responded to that letter, in a 19-page document answering each of the questions in detail.

Furthermore, Apple addressed customer data usage as well, saying that it "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". They also sought information about any limits Apple and Google place on developers in collecting data from users' devices. Powderly had already written a similar letter to Sen. CEO Tim Cook was asked what he would do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, and the Apple executive's response has become something of a mantra for Apple.

The tech giant also said they are committed to transparency on their data collection practices. Aside from location data, the letters also wanted to know about how devices collect audio data from user conversations, and sharing that data with third parties.

Apple made the changes in the wake of the controversy over misuse of Facebook data by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. The company clams third-party apps are not doing so either.

Of all the companies you'd suspect might want to listen in on the things you say, or record parts of your conversations with their devices, it's Apple that told lawmakers that iPhones don't do it. Representatives Greg Walden, Marsha Blackburn, Gregg Harper, and Robert Latta cited reports that smartphones could "collect "non-triggered" audio data from users" conversations near a smartphone in order to hear a "trigger" phrase, such as "Okay Google" or "Hey Siri, '" asked both Apple and Google CEOs to comment on the matter. That reflects what Apple has said in its privacy policies.

"Not all technology companies operate in the same manner- in fact, the business models and data collection and use practices are often radically different from one another".