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Sen. Franken delivers inquiry letter to Jobs on iOS security

updated 11:00 am EDT, Thu April 21, 2011

Asks for 'prompt response'

The unprotected location history file in iOS 4 has drawn attention from Minnesota senator Al Franken, says CNN. Franken has reportedly sent a two-page letter (PDF) to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, arguing that the file represents a potential security threat. "Anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of the user's home, the businesses he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attend, and the trips he has taken over the past months or even a year," part of the letter reads.

"It is also entirely conceivable that malicious persons may create viruses to access this data from customers' iPhones, iPads, and desktop and laptop computers," Franken goes on. "There are numerous ways in which this information could be abused by criminals and bad actors. Furthermore, there is no indication that this file is any different for underage iPhone or iPad users, meaning that the millions of children and teenagers who use iPhone or iPad devices also risk having their location collected and compromised."

The senator says he would appreciate a "prompt response" to nine different questions. Among these are why Apple would start collecting the data, how it's generated, why the public was not informed, and who may have been been given access. Some other questions include the level of tracking precision, and what steps Apple will take to encrypt the information.

by MacNN Staff



  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bill O'Reilly sh*ts his pants

    every time he hears the words, "Sen. Al Franken".

    Good on you, Sen. Franken, for looking out for the people's interests, not corporate interests.

  1. mjtomlin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh please!

    Anyone who has access to this file also has access to all the web pages you visited, all the people you've called or called you, all names, phone numbers and addresses in you address book, etc.

  1. kdogg73

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not That Specific

    Have you all looked at your own file? I don't think the locations are that specific. It looks like a grid of approximate locations and frequency. However, if you you do gain access to someone's machine that backs up their phone, the tracker does feed the curiosity.

  1. wdavis0911

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Really Senator?

    The file only is on the iPhone or the computer the phone was backed up to. If you have access to those, I'm fairly sure I could figure out the rest.

    The senator is just a media w****.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Frankenstein has no clue.

    Virus? Unless if you jailbreak it, everything runs in sandboxes. It is not possible to have a virus running on an iOS device that has not been jailbroken.

  1. QualleyIV

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Al Franken is an a** Clown.

    See above.

  1. tcphoto

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Senator, you're a good person and people like you.

    As our President says, full disclosure is good and if Apple is building a profile on us then we might as well know about it.

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Franken, m'dear. . .

    I give a damn. Keep the corps honest. Even Apple.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. J2-Droid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Steve the F├╝hrer must mind his flock

    Jobs and Jobsians just want you to have a back up copy of where you work and sleep, your favorite restaurant, and where your children go to school....You know just in case the person who found/stole your iPhone wants to know. Innovation at it's best and Stewart Smally realizes it.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    turn location services off ?

    ...alongside the other suggestions of encrypting the backup - also use a router, hide any wifi, have firewalls on, and perhaps when all else fails - read the manual...

    As simple as setting bitrates...?

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