CHICAGO

iPhone, Android Tracking: Illinois AG Lisa Madigan Sends Letter To Apple, Google

Apr 26, 2011 | Updated Jun 26, 2011

The office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking executives at Apple and Google for a sit-down about the companies' policies on tracking user locations, according to a press statement issued by the office Monday.

Her announcement comes on the heels of revelations that Apple's iOS-powered devices, the iPhone and iPad, as well as Google's Android handhelds and Microsoft's Windows phones, have been storing users' precise location information, along with data tying those locations to individual devices. A lawsuit has already been filed against Apple in the matter, for allegedly failing to disclose the full extent of its location tracking in its Terms of Service agreement.

Now, Madigan is hoping to apply additional pressure to the companies on the issue.

"I want to know whether consumers have been informed of what is being tracked and stored by Apple and Google and whether those tracking and storage features can be disabled," she said in the release. "It's important that these companies ensure that their users' private information is protected."

She sent a fourteen-point memo to Apple (read below) with a series of specific concerns about the company's rules, from as general as "Why is Apple storing location-based data on mobile devices?" to specifics on what type of data is stored, how long it sticks around, and where it gets sent. A similar letter was sent to Google as well.

With the letter, Madigan joins Minnesota Senator Al Franken in the ranks of high-profile political figures weighing in on the location-tracking question. Franken pressed Apple for answers on the issue last week, and is bringing Apple and Google executives to the Hill for a hearing on May 10.

Madigan's office has been known to take stands on high-profile consumer protection cases in the news. From the mortgage crisis to Chicago's highly controversial parking meter sale, Madigan has planted herself squarely on the side of consumers, in word if not always in deed.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General couldn't confirm if the office had any plans to file suit against the companies. "We just want to find out more information," the spokesperson said.

So far, the office hasn't received any response from either company.

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