US lawmakers ask Apple about tracking feature
US lawmakers are seeking an explanation from Apple following a claim that iPhone and iPads are constantly logging the location of the devices and storing the information in a hidden file.
Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, sent a letter to Apple chief executive Steve Jobs on Wednesday and Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, sent Jobs a letter on Thursday.
The letters came after a pair of British security researchers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, said the position-logging feature is contained in iOS 4, the operating system for the iPhone and iPad released in June of last year.
In a statement, Markey said "Apple needs to safeguard the personal location information of its users to ensure that an iPhone doesn't become an iTrack.
"Collecting, storing and disclosing a consumer's location for commercial purposes without their express permission is unacceptable and would violate current law," he said.
In his letter to Apple, Markey asked whether the researchers' report was accurate and, if so, what the information being collected was being used for.
Market asked for a response within 15 business days.
According to Allan and Warden, iPhones and iPads with iOS 4 store latitude and longitude coordinates along with a time stamp, probably through cell-tower triangulation,
They noted that cellphone companies typically have access to this data but it is not usually stored on a mobile device itself.
© 2011 AFP