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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

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Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 04:14 PM ET, 05/25/2011

Al Franken asks Apple, Google to require app privacy policies

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) sent a letter to the chief executives of Apple and Google asking that their companies require app makers to have clear, understandable privacy policies.

Franken wrote that this move would be “a simple first step” to give users and others basic information about what an app can access and share.

At the very least, Franken said, there should be privacy policies for any location-aware applications that specify exactly what information is collected, how it’s collected and with whom the data are shared.

“Apple and Google have each said time and again that they are committed to protecting users’ privacy,” Franken wrote. “This is an easy opportunity for your companies to put that commitment into action.”

Franken, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary privacy committee, asked Apple software chief Bud Tribble and Google’s American head of public policy, Alan Davidson, to consider this request at a hearing last month.

Neither company gave a direct response. Davidson said he would take the question to Google . Tribble said that he believes privacy must be built into apps to be truly effective, as many people do not read privacy policies.

Related stories:

Apple, Google pressed for answers at privacy hearing

Sen. Rockefeller calls hearing on mobile privacy

Jobs explains mobile policies, says Apple will testify in hearing

By  |  04:14 PM ET, 05/25/2011

Tags:  Privacy, Apple, Google

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