It may have been a hearing on privacy, but that didn't prevent Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs from getting a very public flogging today on Capitol Hill. Al Franken is apparently immune to Jobs' reality distortion field.
The Minnesota senator wasn't having any of the Apple chief's shameless double talk about whether the iPhone tracks your location using wifi access points and cell phone towers; at a hearing today with Apple VP Bud Tribble and Google spokesman Alan Davidson he contrasted Jobs' denial that the iPhone tracks owners' locations with contradictory statements from his own company. Meanwhile, according to a detailed report in Forbes, Senator Patrick Leahy referred to the iPhone as a "spy phone" in a so-called slip of the tongue during his opening remarks.
If that weren't rough enough, Franken asked an FTC deputy director if her agency would be investigating Apple for unfair and deceptive business practices, noting that Apple has admitted it was recording tracking data about people who had their phone's location services preference turned off. And, as you can see in the video above, he cast doubts on Apple's claims it keeps tight control over how third parties use sensitive location data.
It looks like Jobs has some more persuading to do—and will need to go beyond the tech press.
[Video via Senate Judiciary Committee]