As summarized by AppleInsider, Tribble testified before Senate members that Apple doesn’t collect personal information about its users nor does the company share any information with advertisers – rather, the cache file that was discovered by security researchers (which was incorrectly large in size and backed up to a computer during the sync process) is meant to store information about nearby cell towers and WiFi hotspots to enable iPhones and iPads 3G to quickly get signal without having to rely on real-time GPS data all the time. This is a crowd-sourced database that Apple keeps in a small amount on every device as an offline cache – personal data and device identifiers are never sent to Apple, Tribble explained.
Tribble also went on to explain Apple does random audits on App Store apps and follows the tech press and iOS community to find out which apps are violating the privacy rules:
The Apple executive also detailed how his company conducts random audits on applications to make sure they’re playing by the rules. He admitted that Apple does not audit every single one of its 350,000 iPhone applications, just like it would be impossible for the federal government to audit every single taxpayer. Apple also keeps an eye on blogs and its “active community” of application users for potential violations. If a violation is discovered and the issue cannot be resolved, applications will be removed within 24 hours and the developer will be notified.
In most cases, Tribble said, developers quickly correct the issue, as they want to keep their application available in the App Store.
Tribble was joined today by Google’s Alan Davidson. A video of Senator Franken’s opening statement is embedded after the break.