Of all the companies you'd suspect might want to listen in on the things you say, or record parts of your conversations with their devices, it's Apple that told lawmakers that iPhones don't do it. Representatives Greg Walden, Marsha Blackburn, Gregg Harper, and Robert Latta cited reports that smartphones could "collect "non-triggered" audio data from users" conversations near a smartphone in order to hear a "trigger" phrase, such as "Okay Google" or "Hey Siri, '" asked both Apple and Google CEOs to comment on the matter.
However, due to Apple changing its rules for app developers, members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to Cook in July, stating the firm's recent "actions raise questions about how Apple device users' data is protected and when it is shared and compiled".
This followed congressional hearings into Facebook's privacy practices, after news emerged that its APIs had been exploited to harvest personal data from users. "The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers". The five-page letter to Cook asked detailed questions about how Apple collected user data and what it used it for.
"Apple's philosophy and approach to customer data differs from many other companies on these important issues", the letter reads.
In response to questions from Congress, Apple has written a letter in which it denies recording iPhone users' phone calls. The company said it explicitly requires its users to approve microphone access and that apps must display a clear signal that they are listening.
"We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data", Powderly wrote.
The tech giant also said they are committed to transparency on their data collection practices.
It isn't just the tech companies telling consumers not to worry.
"It's categorically untrue that this is happening", said Serge Egelman, director of security and privacy research at Berkeley's International Computer Science Institute. Facebook accused Analytica of violating policies, while researchers who created the quiz app behind the affair claimed that, not only did they do nothing wrong, but they were not the only party to collect data in that way.