updated 05:40 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011
'A string of open questions' exists, says gov't.
The German government has joined groups requesting an explanation for an unprotected location history file in iOS 4, says Reuters. The country's consumer protection ministry is asking Apple to answer "a string of open questions," namely "where, for how long, and for what purpose the data is saved, who has access to it, and how it is protecting against unauthorized access." An Apple Germany spokesman has so far refused to comment.
"The secret collection and storage of a smart phone's location data would be a major invasion of privacy," adds consumer protection ministry spokeman Holger Eichele. Reuters observes that Germany has particularly tough data security rules, and has previously cracked down on companies like Google and Facebook.
In the US an informal government probe has been launched by Minnesota senator Al Franken. The politician has sent a two-page letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, asking for information on many of the same topics raised by Germany. The history tracker may however just be a badly-handled cache file, either a bug or a programming oversight. It could therefore be easily secured in a future iOS update.