Senators Request Info From Home Depot, Apple On Recent Data Disasters

Following two serious violations of consumers’ privacy — the theft of potentially hundreds of millions of credit and debit card numbers from Home Depot, and the personal photos and information stolen from Apple iCloud accounts of numerous female celebrities — some lawmakers in D.C. are looking for some answers from the companies that were supposed to keep our data safe.

In separate letters to Apple and Home Depot, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, Chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, requested information about the recent hacks.

The letter to Home Depot [PDF] asks the company’s CEO Frank Blake to brief the Committee on the findings of the retailer’s internal investigation into the data breach, which may go back as far as April and could be several times larger than last year’s holiday-season attack on Target that made off with info on more than 100 million consumers.

The letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook [PDF] also requests a briefing on the situation but asks for additional, more specific information about Apple’s privacy-related protocols.

“We are particularly interested in learning such details given Apple’s recent release of its latest iPhone models and the Apple Watch, which, among other things, enable the collection of consumer health data and encourage increased mobile commerce,” write the senators. “Furthermore, Apple will soon launch its new cloud storage initiative, iCloud Drive, which your website states will allow consumers to ‘safely store all your presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, and any other kind of document in iCloud and access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or, PC.’ These combined developments seemingly point to increased migration of sensitive consumer data toward Apple’s cloud storage services.”

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