Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota, fired off a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs late Wednesday demanding to know why the company's iPhones and iPads are reportedly compiling secret data tracking customers' whereabouts when they use or carry their devices.
A self-described hacker and a former Apple employee say they recently discovered secret lines of code in Apple's latest operating system known as IOS-4 and, in an article released Wednesday, say it contains data showing consumers' whereabouts every time they use or even just carry a web enabled iPhone or iPad.
The duo also just released an application that allows users to see what information has been collected on their devices.
In his letter, Franken says the, "existence of this information – stored in an unencrypted format – raises serious privacy concerns." He adds, "Anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of a user's home, the businesses he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attend, and the trips he has taken."
The Minnesota Democrat wants to know why Apple is collecting the data, how it is generated, why it's not encrypted, and why Apple customers, "were never affirmatively informed of the collection and retention of their location data."
Franken also asks Jobs to explain who this information has been disclosed to, including Apple.
I don't have an iPhone, having opted for the Droid, but I'm doubtful that Google is free of this kind of tracking either.
Discoverers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden discuss how they uncovered the sneaky code.