Apple details iPhone tracking for Congress

Posted May 09, 2011, at 6:48 p.m.
Last modified May 09, 2011, at 7:27 p.m.
A customer tries an Apple iPhone 4 at a Verizon store in Mountain View, Calif. Apple should have responded much sooner to concerns about location data stored on its iPhones, even if the company didn't have all the answers ready, marketing and crisis-management experts say.
Paul Sakuma | AP
A customer tries an Apple iPhone 4 at a Verizon store in Mountain View, Calif. Apple should have responded much sooner to concerns about location data stored on its iPhones, even if the company didn't have all the answers ready, marketing and crisis-management experts say.

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is telling Congress that its iPhone location tracking is meant to improve service, not stalk customers.

The company outlined its stance in a letter released Monday by the House of Representatives. An Apple Inc. vice president, Guy Tribble, is set to testify Tuesday before a Senate subcommittee. A Google Inc. executive, Alan Davidson, is also set to testify.

Congress is demanding details from smartphone companies about their tracking practices, after researchers revealed last month that iPhones and Android phones themselves were secretly keeping track of users’ locations.

Apple and Google say they record only the location of Wi-Fi hot spots and cell towers to improve service, and tracking can be turned off. Apple said a “bug” caused the iPhone to keep location data even when tracking was disabled.

 

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