Minnesota Sen. Al Franken tackles the iPhone tracking issue… [update]

Yesterday Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, a pair of researchers for O’Reilly Media posted an article about how the iPhone and iPad appear to be saving location data in a “hidden ” file on the devices…

Today, the illustrious Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, is taking umbrage with the outrage that Apple must be collecting this data for some purpose, and even more so, this data could be used by “by criminals and bad actors” for other nefarious purposes…

“Anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of the user’s home, the businesses he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attend, and the trips he has taken over the past months or even a year.”

Here is the PDF of his letter to Steve Jobs.

My dear Senator… Those nefarious people could just check Fabebook, FourSquare, Twitter or any number of social media sites that hundreds of millions of individuals log their whereabouts for all of the Internet to see…

Yes, I am taking this lightly as an iPhone and iPad owner (as well as other Apple products that could be tracking my whereabouts…) Alex Levinson, Lead Engineer for Katana Forensics, wrote a much more balanced piece on this issue and the fact that this “discovery” was not so much of a discovery…

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I often write about privacy (or the lack the of) especially where social media is concerned. The non-voluntary releasing of private information (location data included) is not something to gloss over. Heck, Apple was the first device manufacturer to report that an app was collecting or using location data and allow you to selectively turn OFF location data completely or by app… But, the fact that this data resides on MY device (see Allen and Warden’s update), and is NOT transmitted, and looks simply to be a fragment / cleaning sub-routine gone missing, I am not all that worried… (Hey, maybe someone should make use of it… Then I will be able to automate my FourSquare check-ins…

However, what I AM worried about is how with all of the issues facing the population of the United States, (and states individually), economic, education, $4 gas prices, job loss, housing market, Senator Franken has chosen to champion what may or may not be an issue regarding an electronic device. This is what is wrong with our country… The leadership is so myopically focused on minuscule issues the glaring ones easily hide in front of their faces.

[update] GigaOM posted that many of the Senator’s answers have already been answered about a year ago…

Last year, Congressmen Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.) sent a letter to Jobs about similar issues and received a letter from Apple SVP and General Counsel Bruce Sewell.

Here is the complete letter from Apple SVP and General Counsel Sewell.

So, I go back to MY worry… It is even scarier that we have senators hashing and re-hashing asked and answered questions…

Image credit: Mag3737

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:W Schaumburg Rd,Schaumburg,United States


One thought on “Minnesota Sen. Al Franken tackles the iPhone tracking issue… [update]

  1. Pingback: Apple and the Location Brouhaha « VanishingPoint

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