16 May 2011 – Attorney General Jeffrey Holder said that Sony was under investigation for data breaches following its Playstation hacks.
The Playstation hacking occurred two weeks ago, which permitted the access of millions of privacy records, prompting a major scare among users about privacy invasion, potential fraud and other major issues. This week Sony said that its SOny Online Entertainment gaming net had also been hacked, with millions more possible breaches.
To add to privacy problems for companies, the FTC signaled that geolocation is the kind of sensitive information that needs heightened government scrutiny and protection.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee discussed the issue, including hearing from the Federal Trade Commission’s representative, David Vladeck, who is the Committee’s director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
On the issue of Apple’s storing of geolocation information for up to a year, Vladeck was asked by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) whether the agency supported a “thou shalt not” approach of legislation barring the saving of such data beyond a certain time period, he said the FTC had not taken a position on that specific issue. But he did say he supported making the use and storage of that data an automatic trigger for notification of consumers about what was happening with it.
Apple and Google have both been criticized for their handling of Geolocation information. Google was criticized for what it says was inadvertent collection of data as part of its online mapping efforts, and Apple for storing geolocation info, unencrypted, for up to a year and backing up that info on unsecured computers when iPhones were syncedAtt.