Dear Steve Jobs: Al Franken Has 9 Questions For You About Location Tracking

al franken

Photo: AP

Senator Al Franken is alarmed about the recent revelations that the iPhone tracks the location of users and stores that data in an unencrypted file on the phone.Yesterday, Franken sent a letter to Steve Jobs. It was published by Talking Points Memo this afternoon.

In it, Franken asks some very good questions:

1. Why does Apple collect and compile this location data? Why did Apple choose to initiate tracking this data in its iOS 4 operating system?

2. Does Apple collect and compile this data for laptops?

3. How is this data generated? (GPS, cell tower triangulation, Wi-Fi triangulation, etc.)

4. How frequently is a user’s location recorded? What triggers the creation of a record of someone’s location?

5. How precise is this location data? Can it track a user’s location to 50 meters, 100 meters, etc.?

6. Why is this data not encrypted? What steps will Apple take to encrypt this data?

7. Why were Apple consumers never affirmatively informed of the collection and retention of their location data in this manner? Why did Apple not seek affirmative consent before doing so?

8. Does Apple believe this action is permissible under its privacy policy?

9. To whom, if anyone, including Apple, has this information been disclosed? When and why were these disclosures made?

It will be interesting to see how Apple responds. Perhaps the whole thing was just a bug or oversight.

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