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Apple will testify on data privacy policies before US Senate on Sept. 26

Vice President of Software Technology Bud Tribble is set to appear Sept. 26 before a Senate panel to talk about user privacy, along with execs from Google, Amazon and other companies.

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing later this month on consumer privacy protections, and Apple is among the top tech companies that will be represented there.

The hearing, on "Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy," has been convened by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The hearing is scheduled for the morning of September 26.

The panel, the committee announced on a press release, "will examine privacy policies of top technology and communications firms, review the current state of consumer data privacy, and offer members the opportunity to discuss possible approaches to safeguarding privacy more effectively."

Bud Tribble, Apple's vice president of software technology, is listed among the witnesses, along with representatives of Google, Amazon, Twitter, AT&T, and Charter Communications. The witness list, the committee said, is subject to change.

Notable for their absence from the witness list is Facebook, the company responsible for the Cambridge Analytica brouhaha earlier this year that brought concerns about big tech's privacy safeguards to the fore. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in April, before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

"Consumers deserve clear answers and standards on data privacy protection," Thune said in a statement. "This hearing will provide leading technology companies and internet service providers an opportunity to explain their approaches to privacy, how they plan to address new requirements from the European Union and California, and what Congress can do to promote clear privacy expectations without hurting innovation."

In August, Apple's director of federal government affairs Timothy Powerly wrote a letter to another Congressional committee chairman, Greg Walden of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in response to questions about Apple's privacy initiatives.

"We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data," the letter said. "When we do collect data, we're transparent about it and work to disassociate it from the user. We utilize on-device processing to minimize data collection by Apple. 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 advertising."