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Apple and Google headed for round two with Senate privacy hearings


Following the first round of Senate hearings on privacy last week, representatives from Apple and Google will appear before the US Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance on May 19, according to CNET. In attendance for Apple will be Vice President of Worldwide Government affairs Catherine Novelli, while Google is sending its director of public policy for the Americas, Alan Davidson. Facebook is also attending this round of privacy hearings, sending its Chief Technology Officer, Bret Taylor. Microsoft apparently wasn't asked to attend.

The hearing will address "consumer privacy and protection in the mobile marketplace," and unlike the first round of privacy hearings, the US Department of Justice isn't in attendance. No doubt the recent "Locationgate" controversy will be addressed in spite of Apple addressing it to a large extent with the recent iOS 4.3.3 software update. However, given that a representative from Facebook is in attendance this time, it's possible the hearing will focus on more generalized attitudes toward consumer privacy from the main pillars of the tech community.

Google didn't appear to fare particularly well during the first round of hearings; its representative's repeated refrains of "openness" wound up being about the worst argument the company could put forward during a hearing on privacy matters. If the Senate chooses to focus on online advertising, particularly in light of recently introduced "do not track" legislation, both Google and Facebook may find themselves beneath a very uncomfortable microscope. That's not to say that Apple is entirely blameless in privacy matters, but with "Locationgate" largely out of the spotlight, it's possible Apple won't be the central focus of this next round of hearings.

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