Al Franken wants Apple and Google to testify about smartphone tracking

Categories: Al Franken

Al Franken wants Apple, Google at privacy hearings.
Sen. Al Franken is wading ever deeper into the controversy over whether smartphones are secretly tracking their user's locations.

As chairman of the Privacy, Technology and the Law Subcommittee, he's calling on Apple and Google representatives to testify at hearings in May.

Researchers caused a storm of controversy last week by publishing a report that shows iPhones and iPads use a computer application to track and store their users' whereabouts for up to a year -- without the users prior permission.

Thumbnail image for oreillyradartracking.jpg
Mapping your every move.
Along with the findings, they released an attention-grabbing mapping application that draws on the data. And another study discovered that Android smartphones do something similar, although in a less robust manner.

Franken put the squeeze on Apple CEO Steve Jobs last week when he caught wind of the reports, publishing an open letter to the company's iconic leader that demanded some answers about what Apple intended to do with the data, and whether it was concerned about invading people's privacy. [Read the letter here.]

In some corners, critics suspect Franken is just playing to the cameras, tilting at windmills, or both. Apple hasn't said a word since the bad PR started, while Google issued a brief statement insisting their tracking application was not a secret. Neither have responded yet to his invitation to the hearings.

But Franken, who has also fought public battles in favor of net neutrality, and against the Comcast/NBC merger, isn't fazed.

"This hearing is the first step in making certain that federal laws protecting consumers' privacy, particularly when it comes to mobile devices, keep pace with advances in technology," he said in a statement.

The larger question is whether anyone cares in a networked world whose participants often seem indifferent to privacy issues at all, even they know what's going on in the first place.

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David Foureyes
David Foureyes

So it's you opinion that when Al Franken is in a room with US Senators and executives from Apple and Google he's the richest guy in the room?

You crack me up dude...

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Come on AlDon't your like what them liberal rich guys are doing?Your freedom for their wealth and their power. That standard of liberal elitism, promising one thing, while doing another.

I will tell you how I think this will play out.Al will receive a visit from representatives of both Google and Apple before this hearing. They will promise campaign contributions to both Al's reelection and the Democratic National Committee. Al will then have a vested interest in spinning this as a good thing. Al will, as a public display, through out prearranged questions to both Google and Apple, and hence, your freedoms and privacy will die.

This ain't hard people!Power and MoneyEver notice how the liberal on a soap box screaming "tax the rich" and playing "class warfare" is usually the richest guy in the room? Power and Money, and they all want more...

Al may or may not want to protect your freedoms, but his party will not allow him to make to much of this.

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