Senator Al Franken Questions Steve Jobs Over iPhone Tracking
Senator Al Franken has penned an open letter to Steve Jobs asking for answers regarding a recent report that Apple is secretly compiling location data on every iOS device.
Dear Mr. Jobs,
I read with concern a recent report by security researchers that Apple's iOS 4 operating system is secretly compiling its customers' location data in a file stored on iPhones, 3G iPads, and every computer that users used to "sync" their devices. According to the researchers, this file contains consumers' latitude and longitude for every day they used an iPhone or 3G iPad running the iOS 4 operating system - sometimes logging their precise geo-location up to 100 times a day.
The letter continues for two pages and ends with 9 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 location 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 the users location to 50 m, 100 m, etc.?
6. Why is this data not encrypted? What steps will Apple take to encrypt the 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?
9. To whom, if anyone, including Apple, has this data been disclosed? When and why were these disclosures made?