Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken vs. Apple's 'Bud' Tribble: The transcript

May 10, 2011: 3:09 PM ET

"Does this data indicate anything about your location or doesn't it?"

Tribble and Franken. Source: U.S. Senate

At the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on privacy, technology and law Tuesday, Sen. Al Franken put his finger on the most glaring contradiction in the controversy that has come to be known as Locationgate:

On the one hand we have Steve Jobs telling All Things Digital's Ina Fried that the location data Apple (AAPL) gathers from iPhone users "are not telling you anything about your location."

On the other, we have Apple's Q&A, issued the same week, claiming that data stored on each iPhone will "help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location."

"It does not appear to me," Franken told Guy L. ("Bud") Tribble, who was representing Apple at the hearings, "that both these statements could be true at the same time."

It turns out, as Tribble took pains to explain, that Franken was conflating two databases, a huge, crowd-sourced one that Apple maintains, and the much smaller subsets downloaded onto each iPhone as they are needed.

Of course, Tribble's answer and Steve Jobs' assurances would be of no comfort to the unfaithful husband whose wife discovered -- by mapping his iPhone data -- that he did not spend the weekend in the country with his golfing buddies, but in the city, presumably with his mistress.

Franken, however, did not have the wit to ask the follow-up.

Below: The transcript of their exchange. (For the record, "data" is a plural noun, but we'll spare you the [sic]s.)


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