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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook today asking him to explain why Apple did not immediately respond to reports it received about an app, Adware Doctor, covertly sending customers’ browsing histories to servers in China.

Flashback: Apple has long prided itself on strong privacy policies, claiming privacy is a “fundamental human right” as recently as June. In March, Cook called for stronger regulation on big tech that could prevent users’ information being aggregated and distributed without their knowledge.

“For a company that prides itself on prioritizing user privacy and security, this delayed response is extremely disconcerting.”
— Sen. Marco Rubio

What to watch:

  • Rubio expressed concern that Apple did not make public efforts to address security and privacy concerns about this app until reports were made public about its covert distribution. The app has since been removed from the App Store.
  • Rubio wants to know whether Apple chose to ignore the claims, or if there was an unintentional breakdown in oversight.
  • Rubio also wants to know how Apple will make more haste the next time an app is pilfering off customer data, how Apple will audit app updates more quickly (an app update appears to be when Adware Doctor’s suspicious behavior began), and how Apple will ensure apps have security controls to prevent foreign actors’ access.

Go deeper

57 mins ago - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The new digital extortion

Shoshana Gordon/Axios

If you run a hospital, a bank, a utility or a city, chances are you'll be hit with a ransomware attack. Given the choice between losing your precious data or paying up, chances are you'll pay.

Why it matters: Paying the hackers is the clear short-term answer for most organizations hit with these devastating attacks, but it's a long-term societal disaster, encouraging hackers to continue their lucrative extortion schemes.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC mask guidance sparks confusion, questions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CDC's surprise guidance last week freeing the fully vaccinated to go maskless sowed plenty of concerns across the country— even earning the "Saturday Night Live" treatment for all the questions it spurred.

Why it matters: With plenty of Americans still unvaccinated — and without any good way to confirm who has been vaccinated — some experts worry this could put many at increased risk.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Israel-Hamas aerial bombardments enter second week

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Israel and Hamas continued aerial bombardments into Monday morning, as fighting entered a second week.

Why it matters: The worst violence in the region since 2014 has resulted in the deaths of 197 people in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, and 10 in Israel. 58 Palestinian children and two Israeli children are among those killed since the aerial exchanges began on May 10, Reuters notes.