GOP House Leaders Investigating Apple, Google Business Practices

Republican House Energy & Commerce Committee leaders are investigating the business practices of edge behemoths Apple and Google and have sought a raft of information from both.

They are probing "the companies’ representation of third-party access to consumer data, and the collection and use of audio recording data as well as location information via iPhone and Android devices."

That came in letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet (Google) CEO Larry Page.

The legislators say they are concerned about the privacy implications of those practices, particularly Android phone collection of data, up against the privacy expectations of Web users.

Among the questions they want answered by July 23 are whether devices "have the capability to listen to consumers without a clear, unambiguous audio trigger."

Signing on to the letters were committee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Communications Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-Ohio).

Edge Providers are drawing much scrutiny in Washington over their handling and sharing of user data, most prominently of late by Facebook revelations that drew Hill hearings and legislative ire.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.