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Apple's VP of software technology to be witness at US congressional hearing

Guy L. "Bud" Tribble, Apple's vice president of software technology, is scheduled to appear at a congressional hearing on mobile privacy on May 10.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced the list of witnesses scheduled for the hearing set for next Tuesday. Franken is chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

The subcommittee's first hearing will deal with mobile privacy in the wake of an iPhone location database controversy that Apple quickly addressed this week with an iOS software update. The hearing, which will begin at 10 a.m., is entitled "Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell phones and your Privacy."

Tribble served as manager of Apple's original Macintosh software development team, and helped design the original Mac OS and user interface. He also joined Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs as one of the founders of NeXT. He rejoined Apple and Jobs in 2002.

Tribble is a part of the second panel scheduled to appear at the hearing. He will be joined by Google's director of public policy for the Americas, Alan Davidson. Also on the panel are Justin Brookman, director for project on consumer privacy at the Center for Democracy and Technology; Ashkan Soltani, independent researcher and consultant; and Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology.

The first panel includes Jessica Rich, deputy director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, and Jason Weinstein, deputy assistant attorney general of the Criminal Division at U.S. Department of Justice.

iOS 4.3.3

Last week, Jobs gave an interview and revealed that Apple would participate in the congressional hearing.

Franken called both Apple and Google to the U.S. Senate hearing on mobile privacy in late April. The hearing was scheduled after security researchers detailed a location database file being stored on iPhones and 3G-equipped iPads running iOS 4 or later.

The issue raised such a stir that Apple was forced to publicly speak on the issue, and explain that the database is a cache of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database information to help with location services. A bug in the iOS software made the data collection more extensive than Apple intended, and this week's release of iOS 4.3.3 shrunk the size of the file, and made it so the file is deleted entirely when users turn off Location Services on their iPhone.