G.O.P. Weighs In, Questions Jobs Re Apple's Location-Tracking

Net neutrality might have become hopelessly mired in partisan politics, but not all tech issues seem to be destined for that same fate. Specifically, privacy protection is turning out to be a major focus of Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol Hill.

Last week, news that iPhones and iPads are storing data about users' whereabouts on a file marked "consolidated.db" drew sharp questions for Apple from two Democrats -- Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. This week, GOP members of the House followed suit.

Five Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to Apple CEO Steve Jobs seeking more information about location tracking.

"How is that data accessible and who can access it?" they asked. "Can the end-user disable the tracking, use, storing and sharing of such data? Can the user delete the data?"

The lawmakers posed similar questions to representatives from Google, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Nokia and Hewlett Packard.



This latest congressional inquiry comes just days after Apple was hit with the first lawsuit stemming from last week's news. In the Senate, Franken has already asked Google and Apple to testify at a hearing about mobile users' privacy.

While it's premature to say that this uproar will result in new privacy laws, it's certainly reasonable to predict that the controversy surrounding location-tracking will focus more attention on the privacy risks posed by technology -- and whether companies are informing consumers of the ways in which data about them is gathered.

1 comment about "G.O.P. Weighs In, Questions Jobs Re Apple's Location-Tracking ".
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  1. Stephen Rowe, April 26, 2011 at 9:01 p.m.

    I really like the hypocrisy of our elected officials. They take your photo at the stoplight, track your movements by your toll card, access your telephone records to see who you are talking to and can listen in on the conversation, can get your credit card statements and know what you bought and where. What really is bothering them is not that Apple has the capability, but that they don't "yet" have access to it. Yes, Apple is using the data to figure out what they can sell to you and how, a terrible thing. What do you think the government will do with it when they get access to the information?

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