Sen. Franken calls for investigation of Apple iPhone spying


Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota, fired off a letter [pdf] to Apple CEO Steve Jobs late Wednesday demanding to know why the company’s iPhones and iPads are reportedly compiling secret data tracking customers’ whereabouts when they use or carry their devices.

A self-described hacker and a former Apple employee say they recently discovered secret lines of code in Apple’s latest operating system known as IOS-4 and, in an article released Wednesday, say it contains data showing consumers’ whereabouts every time they use or even just carry a web enabled iPhone or iPad. … The Minnesota Democrat wants to know why Apple is collecting the data, how it is generated, why it’s not encrypted, and why Apple customers, “were never affirmatively informed of the collection and retention of their location data.”

Franken also asks Jobs to explain who this information has been disclosed to, including Apple.

This is a big deal, and quite possibly the tip of the iceberg. As John said originally, this has Homeland Security written all over it.

Our original coverage is here; click for the background and more information on the app that lets you see this hidden file. Our follow-up is here, on how this hidden iPhone data appears to be accessed by Michigan police during traffic stops.

Stay tuned.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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