Lawmakers Ask FTC to Investigate Apple, Google

A group of Democratic lawmakers wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple and Google, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Friday (June 24).

As the WSJ reported, lawmakers said in a letter to the FTC that Google and Apple allowed these practices by “building ad-specific tracking IDs into their mobile operating systems.

The letter is signed by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Representative Sara Jacobs of California.

Apple could not be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon. In a statement to PYMNTS, a Google spokesperson said the company never sells user data and that Google Play has strict prohibitions against developers selling that data.

Google and Apple recently took steps to curb the collection of user data through mobile advertising IDs, allowing iOS and Android users to opt out of sending their IDs to apps. Last year, Apple debuted a new version of its software that required each app to ask for user consent, while Google works on its own privacy restrictions.

“Until recently, however, Apple enabled this tracking ID by default and consumers had to dig through confusing phone settings to disable it,” the letter said per WSJ. “Google still enables this tracking ID by default and didn’t even offer consumers an opt-out until recently.”

The letter adds that the “identifiers have fueled the unregulated data broker market by creating a single piece of information linked to a device that data brokers and their clients can use to link to other data about consumers.”

Also see: Google faces action from EU regulators on two fronts

This news comes as both companies are being scrutinized by watchdogs in Europe over data usage issues.

As PYMNTS reported earlier this week, Germany’s Bundeskartellamt opened an investigation into the Google Maps platform and how Google’s rules hinder the use of certain Maps features and data.

Andreas Mundt, head of the German antitrust authority, said in a statement that “we have information that suggests that Google may limit the combination of its own mapping services with third-party mapping services”.

Google said the company was working with regulators and would answer questions about its company. The Bundeskartellamt also said it is investigating Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

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About: PYMNTS’s survey of 2,094 consumers for the report The Tailored Shopping Experience, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are doing well and where they need to up their game to deliver a customized shopping experience.

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