Last month, US Congressional Energy and Trade Committee sent letters to Apple and Google questioning the companies 'use of their customers' data. Yesterday, Ma responded with another letter, signed by the director of matters related to the federal government, Timothy Powderly and its content, as expected, reiterates Cupertino's speech that puts the user's privacy first.
Here is our free translation of the letter:
Dear Mr. Chairman of the Committee,
Thank you for your inquiries pertaining to the capabilities of Apple iPhone devices. Not all technology companies operate the same way, in fact, business models and data collections and usage practices are almost always radically different between them. Apple's philosophy and approach to consumer data differs from many other companies on these important issues.
We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right and we purposely design our products and services in such a way that the collection of data from users is the minimum possible. When we collect this data, we are transparent about it and work to disassociate it from users. We use processing within devices to minimize data collection by Apple. The consumer is not our product, and our business model does not rely on collecting large amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich profiles targeted at advertisers.
As we strongly believe that the consumer should have control over their personal information and the way it is used, we offer a series of tools that are easily accessible on our website for them to make smart choices. Many of your questions are answered in documents available to the public, such as our privacy website, which can be found at www.apple.com/privacy. In addition, we recently answered similar questions from Senator Charles Grassley and our answers are available online.
Innovation at Apple means designing a new product or service with user privacy as a key design element and not an obligation. We hope the answers below will help you understand these topics and make Apple's position clear that consumers have full right to transparency, choice and control over their own information. We are willing to take other questions from the Committee's staff when necessary.
The document then goes on with several pages specifically answering the 16 questions sent to the committee. I already say that nothing leaves much of Apple's standard speech nor enters technical territory, but if you are interested in reading the whole thing (and know a little bit of English), it can be found below.
It is worth noting that the letters sent to Google and Apple differ slightly in content, the first has questions, say, more intense. Now, the expectation is to see what the response from the Mountain View giant will be.