Apple has tapped Bud Tribble to represent the company in Senator Al Franken’s May 10th Senate hearing titled, “Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy.” Mr. Tribble is a Silicon Valley legend, having been part of the small team that developed the original Macintosh, who then left the company with then-ousted CEO Steve Jobs to help found NeXT Computer. Today, he is VP of Software Technology at Apple.
The Senate hearing was convened by Senator Franken following revelations about the ways in which Google and Apple were collecting location data through their smartphone platforms (Android for Google and iPhone for Apple).
“This hearing is the first step in making certain that federal laws protecting consumers’ privacy-particularly when it comes to mobile devices-keep pace with advances in technology,” Mr. Franken said in a statement announcing the hearing. “The same technology that has given us smartphones, tablets, and cell phones has also allowed these devices to gather extremely sensitive information about users, including detailed records of their daily movements and location.”
Since the location data collection and storage (in the case of Apple) revelations were made, Apple has released iOS 4.3.3, an update that fixes what the company called a bug behind the storage issue. The company also issued a statement saying that the company didn’t track individuals but was assembling a database of WiFi networks and cell towers used in the location services central to many popular apps and services on the iPhone.
Steve Jobs had already intimated that his company would accept the invitation to testify in the Senate hearing, and on Friday, the senator’s office released the names of those who would be there. Joining Mr. Tribble will be Alan Davidson, Director of Public Policy, Americas for Google, as well as representatives from the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Association for Competitive Technology, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Ashkan Soltani, an independent researcher.
Bud Tribble, speaking at Harvard University