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Congressmen Press Apple on Privacy Concerns

Apple fans love their iPhones and iPads and, at least according to a pair of privacy advocates in Washington, are being strong-armed into giving away too much of their personal information in order to use the popular gadgets.

As Datamation reports, Reps. Ed Market and Joe Barton are pressuring Apple CEO Steve Jobs to justify the boilerplate terms of use for his company's devices that require users to allow Apple to do whatever it wants with "non-personal" information transmitted from their iPhones and iPads.

In its privacy policy, Apple suggests as an example that it might share users' location data with third-party applications. Many of those apps, which have come increasingly to define the user's experience on the iPhone and iPad, are now incorporating location awareness to enhance mapping, social or promotional features.

Apple insists in its privacy policy that the location information is collected anonymously and includes no markers that could personally identify users.

But Apple's blanket claim over non-personal data leaves a wide berth for the use of location-based information: "We may collect, use, transfer and disclose non-personal information for any purpose," the privacy policy reads.

Two self-styled privacy hawks in Congress have turned their attention toward Apple, asking the company for answers about how it is collecting and using information about its users' geographical location.

In a letter to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs, Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) posed a string of questions about a recent addition to the company's privacy policy that staked a broad claim to information associated with users' location: "Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device," the policy now reads.

That didn't sit well with Markey and Barton, who sent the letter to Jobs in response to a report in the L.A. Times highlighting Apple's policy change.

Read the full story at Datamation:
Lawmakers Ask Apple's Steve Jobs for Answers on Privacy