Sen. Franken Sends Letter to Steve Jobs on Unprotected Location History File in iOS 4

Posted by at 12:50 pm on April 21, 2011

The unprotected location history file in iOS 4 demo’d at Where 2.0 has drawn attention from Minnesota senator Al Franken. Franken has 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

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