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Is Apple tracking your personal info?

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Ever since the news media published reports of a little-known tracking feature on Apple's iPhones and iPads, the federal government and techies alike have been trying to figure out what it means for personal information and privacy rights. As Politico notes today, the issue has also garnered the interest of concerned members of Congress, including Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey.

Last month, Markey demanded that Apple publish an explanation about the hidden feature. Specifically, Markey wanted to know whether Apple intentionally developed the feature track the location of iPhone and iPad users and whether the company ever notified its users that it was collecting the data. The congressman also publicly called on Apple to address whether the stored location data is used for commercial purposes, noting that the computer giant could be in violation of federal law.

Today, Apple is clearing the air with a letter addressed to members of Congress.  Politico reports:

The popular tech company asserts that it has never tracked users’ locations and “has no plans to ever do so.”

The letter, written by Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel and government affairs executive, answers in great technical detail a host of questions Markey asked about the company’s data collection practices.

Markey was pleased that Apple responded to his letter with a pledge to encrypt location information stored on customers’ iPhones and iPads and other devices to shorten the length of time the data is retained.

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