Al Franken Rips Apple before Congress

Illustration for article titled Al Franken Rips Apple before Congress

Although Apple's fixed the location tracking problem, their Q&A explanation of the issue was defensive and baffling. Yesterday, before a Senate hearing on privacy and location tracking, Apple showed that they're still talking out of both sides of their EULA.

The questioning, lead mostly by Sen. Al Franken, reached its peak at this point, wherein the nonsensicality of Apple's We're not tracking you, we're just tracking you, rationale was nailed directly. They got called out. Hard. "It doesn't appear that both of these statements could be true at the same time," Franken politely puts it. He's given a complete non-answer (But hey! It's a Senate hearing! What else would you expect?), and from there the questioning and testimonies veered wildly into irrelevance. By the end of the hearing, Apple and Google's reps were being grilled on drunk driving, prompting some serious "Why the hell did I fly to DC for this" inner monologue, I'd imagine.

But having Apple's incoherent take on the issue put on the federal griddle was important—and that someone in a position of power was willing to call them out felt very reassuring. It's no coincidence that the funniest people are usually the smartest.

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DISCUSSION

What does the location cache bug have to do with the information Apple collects? The answer is nothing. If you don't understand this, like Franken, then yeah, Apple got called out. Hard.

Apple's never said "We're not tracking you, we're just tracking you." They've always said, "We're not tracking you, but we are collecting location data anonymously." The whole location cache bug made this even more complicated because people believed that Apple was collecting this information, but their not.