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EU official says Sony, Apple need to rebuild trust

Following user privacy snafus in recent weeks, a European Union official comes out saying that Apple and Sony have some work to do in restoring trust from their users.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Sony and Apple could face a backlash from EU data protection officials following recent privacy-related issues surrounding their flagship products.

During a speech earlier today in Brussels, Belgium, European Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding noted that both companies needed to rebuild customer trust, saying "those in charge have to take the relevant technical and organizational measures to guarantee protection against data loss or an unjustified access."

PlayStation Network breach

The speech, which was covered by Bloomberg, comes days after Sony's announcement that as many as 100 million user accounts were exposed as part of an attack targeting its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment properties. It also comes just shy of a week since Apple responded to claims that it was tracking user location. Between the two, Reding cited Sony specifically for taking too long to notify users about its data breach.

Apple last week said that it wasn't tracking users and never had plans to do so, adding that any geo-data being stored is simply a smaller part of a secure and anonymous database that helps devices determine where they are.

Apple specifically has said it plans to address concerns about the location database stored on the phone by shrinking its size down to seven days worth of data, encrypting it, and giving users the power to delete it each time location services are turned off. Those adjustments are due as part of a software update promised in the next few weeks, though there are signs that update could arrive sooner.

Meanwhile, Sony Computer Entertainment (Sony's gaming division) has created a new chief security information officer position and plans to offer its customers free identity theft monitoring. Collectively, these moves may not be enough to satisfy EU data protection officials, Bloomberg said.

EU regulation has played a notable role in shaping the policies, products, and business deals of multinational corporations. Microsoft and Google specifically have come under the eye of EU regulators on numerous occasions, with Google being the more recent target for services like Google Books and the company's Street View technology.