Apple and Google Executives to Discuss Location Tracking at Congressional Hearing

Today, Senator Al Franken expressed his gratitude towards Apple and Google for their willingness to participate in an upcoming hearing focused on mobile technology and privacy. Franken highlighted that the purpose of this hearing is to explore whether current federal privacy laws are adequate in the age of rapid technological advancements, especially concerning mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

The hearing, titled “Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy,” is scheduled for May 10 in Washington, D.C. Updates on the outcomes of this event will be provided, and further comments from Sen. Franken are anticipated post-hearing.

On Thursday, April 28, 2011, U.S.

Senator Al Franken, who chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, acknowledged the confirmation from Apple and Google about sending their representatives to the May 10th hearing. The session will also see participation from the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy researcher and consultant, and Justin Brookman, Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Project on Consumer Privacy.

Senator Franken stated, “I’m pleased that Apple and Google have confirmed that they’ll be sending representatives to testify at my upcoming hearing on mobile technology and privacy. This hearing will serve as a first step in investigating if federal law protecting consumer privacy—particularly when it relates to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets—is keeping pace with advances in technology. Each of the witnesses at the hearing will play a critical role in helping us better understand this complex issue and I look forward to hearing from them.”

The hearing is set to take place at 10:00 a.m.

in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building on Tuesday, May 10th.

Senator Franken has consistently prioritized the protection of Minnesotans’ and Americans’ consumer rights and privacy since joining the Senate. Recently, he addressed a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs regarding privacy concerns with Apple’s iOS 4 operating system, which reportedly stores extensive location data unencrypted. Following this, Apple announced plans to update the iOS 4 to rectify some of these privacy issues.

Previously, Franken urged Attorney General Holder to consider geotags in a stalking victimization study update. He also led a group of Senate colleagues in persuading Facebook to cancel plans that would allow third-party apps to access users’ personal information.

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