Apple Inc told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday that its iPhones do not listen to users without their consent and do not allow third-party apps to do so either, after lawmakers asked the company if its devices were invading users’ privacy.
Representatives Greg Walden, Marsha Blackburn, Gregg Harper and Robert Latta wrote to Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook and Alphabet Inc chief executive Larry Page in July, citing concerns about reports that smartphones could “collect ‘non-triggered’ audio data from users’ conversations.
In a letter to Walden, an Oregon Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Apple said iPhones do not record audio while listening for Siri wakeup commands and Siri does not share spoken words. Apple said it requires users to explicitly approve microphone access and that apps must display a clear signal that they are listening.
Apple wrote that it had removed apps from its App Store over privacy violations but declined to say whether it had ever banned a developer. It also said it was up to developers to notify users when an app was removed for privacy reasons.