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Apple iOS 4 Privacy Policy Prompts Congress Inquiry

Two US Congressmen have launched a privacy inquiry into a recent change to Apple's user terms of service, which require users to agree to the company sharing information about their location.

Texas Republican Joe Barton, co-chairman of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, and Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey, have written a joint letter (opens in new tab) to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, asking him to explain the changes made by the company to its user privacy policy by 12 July.

The Congressmen wrote: "It is our understanding that Apple’s consumers cannot use newly purchased iPads, iPhones, Apple computers or purchase products from the iTunes music store unless they accept the revised terms and conditions and include agreeing to the collection and sharing of geographical location data."

Apple has recently changed its user terms and conditions, making it easier for the company, its partners and licensees to "collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device."

The company has maintained that location data collected by Apple will be anonymous, and will be used only to offer specialised location-based services to its users.