Senator Asks FTC to Probe Apple, Google Smart Phones

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer asks FTC to probe Apple and Google over reports smart phone apps enable users’ private photos and data to be downloaded

A U.S. senator has urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate reports that applications on the Apple and Google mobile systems can be used to steal private photos and contacts.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, in a letter released Sunday called on the FTC to investigate Apple and Android smart phones after it was reported that apps on both devices can access a user's personal photos and contacts.

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Schumer asked the FTC "to investigate a disturbing and potentially unfair practice in the smartphone application market," referring to New York Times reports saying apps on the smart phones can access the data without the owner's knowledge.

"When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private," Schumer said. "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."

He also referred to a discovery last month that applications on devices such as the iPhone and iPad were able to upload entire address books with names, telephone numbers and email addresses to their own servers.

"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 a letter to the FTC.

Apple and Google didn't return requests for comment.