U.S. Senate Democrat Franken to hold mobile privacy hearing; Apple, Google summoned

“As the controversy over persistent location tracking in the iPhone and Google Android devices continues to surge, representatives from Apple and Google have been summoned to a Senate judiciary hearing on mobile technology privacy in May,” Josh Ong reports for AppleInsider.

“Democratic Senator Al Franken, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, will hold the hearing, titled ‘Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy,’ on May 10,” Ong reports. “In addition to representatives from Apple and Google, confirmed witnesses at the hearing include officials from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission; Ashkan Soltani, independent privacy researcher and consultant; and Justin Brookman, Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Project on Consumer Privacy.”

Ong reports, “After security researchers revealed last week that Apple’s iOS 4 operating system stores a detailed log of user’s locations, Franken and other government officials sent concerned letters to Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Illinois Attorney General Madigan requests meeting with Apple, Google – April 25, 2011
Apple sued for privacy invasion, computer fraud over iOS location data collection, storage – April 25, 2011
Steve Jobs on iOS location tracking: We don’t track anyone, but Droid does – April 25, 2011
Apple iPhone collects location info even when location services are turned off by user – April 25, 2011
Android phones regularly transmit location data to Google ‘at least several times an hour’ – April 22, 2011
House Democrat questions legality of Apple’s iPhone, iPad location tracking – April 21, 2011
Apple’s iOS location tracking file caused by a bit of unfinished code? – April 21, 2011
U.S. Senator Al Franken demands answers from Apple’s Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking – April 21, 2011
Expert: iPhone tracking story is nothing new and Apple is not collecting the data – April 21, 2011
‘untrackerd’ jailbreak utility blocks iOS from storing recorded iPhone location data – April 21, 2011
Apple’s iPhone tracks everywhere you go; stores the info in secret file on the device – April 20, 2011

72 Comments

        1. Even more importantly when will you partisan trolls wake up and admit that you have both been played and sold to the highest bidding corporation? R & D alike are killing our country with your “politics”, how about we stop posturing, pontificating and get down to the real job of governance? The two party system is clearly broken.

          1. Thanks for proving my point Breeze, your vitriol contributed nothing, it’s continuation is leading to the demise of the USA.

            Name calling, no compromise, spoon fed talking points, illogical hatred of diverse opinions, in short: sheep, lemmings, pawns. Do yourself and the world a favor.

            WAKE UP

      1. We can be sure the NSA is already recording all phone calls, emails, texts, etc. We don’t know when this began, but it surely was going on during Shrub’s reign after Congress passed the “Patriot” Act.

      2. … all bent out of shape when the tracking was revealed … “say it ain’t so, Steve”.
        Then got all over Franken when he asked the SAME questions … “you dumbDem”.
        Then got bent and defensive when it was reported that the info WAS being sent to Apple – AND stored … “PLEASE say it ain’t so, Steve”.
        Then made a huge fuss when Madigan asked the same questions … “go powder your nose, this is too important for a mere woman to be involved”.
        Now, it’s a mere “distraction”, and the it’s guys who want to investigate who are trying to “take more of our liberty”? You seem to have your own personal Reality Distortion Field, dude. What was IN that Tea you drank?

  1. This is how I see it (and i’m not an American):

    In a “greatest democracy in the world”, media whips up a frenzy of reports regarding severe breach of privacy on mobile phones that track and store location info. Among all the noise on the subject, nobody is capable deciphering the actual truth.

    Within the democratic system, a publicly elected official, whose duty, as a chairman of a Subcommittee on Privacy, is to look into the privacy issues, decides to hold a hearing and finally get to the truth by inviting key players in the industry.

    I can’t see what could possibly be the more appropriate way to sort this all out; media will continue to spin this the worst possible way (to make the story more dramatic and scary); industry players will either ignore it (Apple), or spin it their own way, and ordinary people will have absolutely NO CLUE what is the actual truth.

    There is a strong possibility that a senate subcommittee hearing can actually properly reveal how little there is to the whole scandal.

    1. I agree. There *are* privacy laws, and there *is* a congressional subcommittee for the review and creation of these laws. Frankin happens to be the chair of this committee. A hearing in this is not out of line, and It is appropriate that Frankin be the one to call for it.

    2. So, the people who do know what’s what, the players, tell a public servant who is clueless, who then will tell the media and the public? Why would that convince me anymore than a direct statement from “the players”, which I already have.

      There’s an even better possibility that they will end up adding this file to the list of things TSA will access during airport security checks?

      Al needs to know who knows, and how much, about his own locations during the election recount.

      Al will be

    3. Except, that in American politics, every issue is a potential vehicle to further party agenda. For example, if you don’t like Obama, then he is the one who “forced” Apple to track your every move so he could give that information to his secret Muslim army. If you’re a Democrat, then Apple is another corporation that seeks to use tracking data to target you with a flood of ads to increase profits.

    4. You may not be an American, but you have a pretty good idea how things are supposed to work in a democracy. More than I can say for half the people posting comments on this board.

      The bottom line is, the backwater media, who isn’t beholding to journalistic ethos plants a story designed to excite (hits) a very narrow segment of society. Without the benefit of first-handknowledge, or any desire to read up on the topic, many “zombies” just go ballistic to the point where the zombie festival draws the attention of the MSM.

      It’s only then, that leaders are forced to deal with the information. It’s too bad, there are so few voices in this vertical news market to quell the BS, before it hits the mainstream press.

      You mentioned earlier about the inane forces at play compelling people to act whether they’re prepared to do so, or not.

      This, like your shareholder/CEO scenario is also one of those occasions. Our congresspeople are being forced to deal with a subject that is, and will be in a state of flux for years to come. But rather than let the market deal with these issues in their own methodical way, government will be forced to intervene and once the Feds get their oafish hands on it, it never turns out good for consumers.

      The corporate lobbyists will usurp our power and demand satisfaction. We make it easy for them, because ignorance usually prevails among sheep.

      In the end, we seem to lose a bit more freedom in the marketplace. Corporate swine use the occasion to undermine consumer satisfaction, which usually equates to a cost-savings, while keeping congress’ indebted feet to the fire, and once again the ignorant and sheepish consumers let something else get taken away.

    5. Ah, as usual Predrag injects a thoughtful, rational viewpoint into the usual mire of anything-political-USA … Which will predictably be ignored by the usual fringe elements who post regularly on this site. Predrag: It is too bad there are not more Americans with your “non-American” clarity and reasonableness of thought.

  2. I would love to see a true debate on a wide array of issues between Al Franken and Mark Steyn.

    These Franken-Steyn forums would be witty, enlightening, challenging, and thought provoking….(plus whatever Al had to say…)

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