By Adam Thomas, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Apple CEO Steve Jobs has not replied to Sen. Al Franken’s letter about privacy concerns, but Franken expects answers soon.

In a letter dated April 20, Sen. Franken asked a series of questions about the location and tracking data stored on the operating software for the iPhone, iPod and iPad.

“I don’t think there’s really any mystery at Apple as to the answers to these questions,” Sen. Franken told WCCO Radio on Sunday.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Adam Thomas Reports

The two-page letter was sent after it was revealed that certain Apple gadgets contain unencrypted data that could be used to track a person’s movements, if that data fell into the wrong hands.

Franken admits there are plenty of legitimate reasons to have such data in the first place.

“But there’s also a balance to strike and in this case, Apple has not done this in a very balanced way,” Franken said.

The letter was one of the first major actions Franken took as chairman of the newly formed Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

The Judiciary subcommittee will tackle similar technology issues as they arise and Franken said other issues already involve Apple, and even Google.

“We haven’t announced our first hearing yet, and I’m not going to do it here,” Franken joked.

Comments (15)
  1. Al is iFunny says:

    Wow! Al Franken’s most important topic is to grill Apple on privacy issues with their iPhone. I’m impressed at his ability to nail down the most important topic today.

    I guess to Al Franken, iPhones are more important than figuring out how to come up with another $1,800 Billion for this year’s federal budget or determining what to cut.

    1. Sam says:

      Given that Franken’s opponents like to sling around the word “Big Brother” (without really understanding the term), I think that this isn’t really a bad move. The issue with this is that each iPhone has relatively lightly protected information about a person’s location and past movements, the kind of thing that a Big Brother-type organization would want access to. Oh yeah, let’s not forget that stalkers, robbers, and countless other criminals would also love to be able to learn a given person’s every move, too.
      Take maybe an hour to type out a letter (or, rather, have an intern do so) and send it to Apple to let them know that people are looking at this. Not all that difficult a thing to do, but with a potentially helpful return.

      1. JC says:

        He was given a position (Head of the Committee) and I expect him to do the job – which the request to Apple does. Holding the Press conference is only useful for his own aggrandizement. I suspect that much more time and resources were used for the Press confrence than the letter.

        1. Sam says:

          Actually, Senator Franken held that press conference on his own time. “Sen Franken told WCCO on Sunday.” There’s a big holiday vacation around Easter.
          Also, the press conference does serve to put pressure on Apple, as it makes the public aware of Franken’s request.
          Granted, there are certainly other worthwhile things that Sen Franken could have been doing on Easter morning. I’m just pointing out that it’s not 100% self-aggrandizement.

    2. Wait what? says:

      OK, so we just ignore the problem? How many politicians on the other side of the aisle spent a great deal of time and energy defunding Planned Parenthood like it was the end all solution to our budget problems? People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

      1. Pete says:

        There’s all sorts of issues, why does each side have to attack the other regarding some of the battles they choose? There are some issues that are more important than others – we all know that. So you throw unplanned parenthood out there to counter the accusations against a democrat? – come on.

        1. Wilbur says:

          The arguments put up by Rep Pence versus the reality of how the money is spent made it fair game to throw out there. It is probably the most recent vote, also.

    3. Ignorance must be bliss says:

      @ Al is iFunny
      Did you just need something to cry about today or are you that dumb?
      “The letter was one of the first major actions Franken took as chairman of the newly formed Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.”
      This is right in the story, which means that this is his job as he 1s again is chairman of this subcommittee.
      Do you people read the story or start b!tching before hand?

  2. Joe Hanson says:

    What is Senator Franken’s position on our military action in Libya?

  3. Lynn says:

    Even though I really dislike Franken, I’m glad he is pursuing this matter. The companies need to be forthright about this information and be pressured to take that ability to track someone out completely. We’ve completely ignored the invasion into our lives as we get more used to technology. Yeah, it’s helpful sometimes but it is not worth compromising my ability to stay anonymous and be lost if I choose. Why don’t we have that right? Parents jump at the chance to monitor their children’s movements but ignore the big stuff like parenting well in place of monitoring their children.

    1. Ed says:

      You do have that right, exercise it and don’t buy their product.

  4. marion says:

    I think he is just worried that his movements are being recorded. That data dump would be interesting.

  5. Ed says:

    Would you rather Stuart Smalley harassed Steve Jobs or dabbled with foreign policies?

  6. Phil Mcrackin says:

    Franken is worried that they are tracking his big old butt everywhere he goes, too funny.

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