FCC, FTC seek explanations on phone location data

By JOELLE TESSLER | May 17, 2011 | 5:12 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are joining the growing list of public officials demanding answers from Apple and Google about the extent to which mobile devices track the location of their users and store detailed histories of their movements.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are teaming up to host a public forum next month to explore the benefits and risks of location-based services. And they are inviting Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to explain themselves following recent revelations that Apple's popular iPhone and smartphones running Google's Android software have been storing location information.

Among other things, the forum will look at whether companies adequately disclose — and whether consumers adequately understand — how location-based services work and what privacy tradeoffs they may be accepting in using such services.