updated 10:50 am EDT, Fri April 22, 2011
Rep. Markey adds to US scrutiny
The French and Italian governments have become involved in examining the location history file found in iOS 4, reports say. The Italian Data Protection Authority has opened a formal investigation into the matter, although Reuters notes that the probe is an expansion of one into how mobile apps deal with personal data. France's CNIL is reportedly verifying the security issue, and says it will send Apple France a letter asking for an explanation next week.
The secretary general of CNIL, Yann Padova, explains that the severity of the situation hinges on whether or not Apple shared location histories with other parties. "In the first case, it is a matter of simply not obtaining the consent of the consumer for the data to be collected," he comments. "In the second case, if the information is marketed without the knowledge of the consumer, it is much more serious."
In the US, meanwhile, Massachusetts congressman Edward Markey has sent a letter to Apple asking why location information is being stored. The company's actions could constitute a violation of the Communications Act, he suggests. The letter is similar to one sent on Wednesday by Minnesota senator Al Franken.
Also participating in informal inquiries is Germany's consumer protection ministry. The institution wants to know "where, for how long, and for what purpose the data is saved, who has access to it, and how it is protecting against unauthorized access," according to a spokesman. The country is known to be strict about privacy violations.