Senator calls for probe into possible privacy violations by smartphone applications

A New York senator is urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible privacy violations by smart phone applications.

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said he is concerned over recent reports that Apple iPhone and Android applications can access users' personal information such as photos, phone numbers and email addresses.

Reports surfaced last month that Apple and Android applications can access users' entire address books and upload the content to their servers.

Schumer said such actions violate users' privacy and highlight unfair and deceptive trade practices in the industry. He said such access violates the companies' privacy policies, but it's unclear how these policies are being monitored.

"These uses go well beyond what a reasonable user understands himself to be consenting to when he allows an app to access data on the phone for purposes of the app's functionality," Schumer said in a letter to the FTC.

He said smartphone makers should be obligated to ensure their customers' personal information is protected.

"When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private," said Schumer.

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Reuters contributed to this report.