Apple has once again promised it does not listen to iPhone users’ conversations, while firing shots at rivals like Google. In a written response to questions from US lawmakers, Apple assured its handsets are not invading users’ privacy and is not allowing third-party apps to do so either.
In the letter seen by CNET, Apple told the House Energy and Commerce Committee it doesn’t record ‘Hey Siri’ commands, nor does it share those words with other parties. However, in what could be perceived as a dig at the likes of Google, Apple also reaffirmed it is not seeking to profit from customer data.
In the letter, Timothy Powderly, Apple’s director of federal government affairs writes: “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.”
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Elsewhere in the letter, he writes: “We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data. When we do collect data, we’re transparent about it and work to disassociate it from the user.”
Apple also addressed other concerns about the use of iPhone location data, as well as data harvested from Wi-Fi hotspots, Bluetooth connections and cellular towers. Apple also revealed the data that can be collected by third-parties with permission from users; including access to contacts contacts, photos, health, speech recognition and more.
Last month Google CEO Larry Page also received a letter from the same committee questioning Google’s user privacy practices. Page is yet to respond to the correspondence. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has called the idea that its app listens in on conversations a “conspiracy theory.”
In a US Senate hearing last month Zuckerberg said: “You are talking about the conspiracy theory passed around that we listen to what is going on on your microphone and use that. We do not do that. We do allow people to take videos on their device and share those. Videos also have audio. We do, while you are taking a video, record that and use that to make the service better by making sure that you have audio. That is pretty clear.”
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