Senate wants to “check in” on mobile developments


Few electronic devices have become as personal and ubiquitous as the mobile phone. Or as contentious. A few weeks ago, researchers discovered previously unknown location tracking files on the iPhone. Before that, the country's second-largest wireless carrier (AT&T) agreed to buy the fourth (T-Mobile). Next week the Senate will hold two hearings to look at these issues.

On Tuesday, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is calling Apple and Google to Washington to explain their privacy policies in a Judiciary subcommittee hearing titled "Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy."

The witness list for the hearing includes:

  • Jessica Rich, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission 
  • Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Justin Brookman, Director of the Project on Consumer Privacy, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Alan Davidson, Director of Public Policy for Google
  • Ashkan Soltani, an Independent Researcher and Consultant
  • Guy L. "Bud" Tribble, Vice President of Software Technology for Apple
  • Jonathan Zuck, President of the Association for Competitive Technology

Then on Wednesday, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., is holding a subcommittee hearing titled "The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?" As the title suggests, the hearing will look at the implications of an AT&T and T-Mobile merger, which would create a wireless company surpassing Verizon as the nation's largest.

The witness list for this hearing includes:

  • Randall L. Stephenson, President & CEO of AT&T
  • Philipp Humm, President & CEO of T-Mobile USA
  • Daniel R. Hesse, CEO of Sprint Nextel Corporation
  • Victor H. "Hu" Meena, President & CEO of Cellular South, Inc.
  • Gigi Sohn, President & Co-Founder of Public Knowledge
  • Larry Cohen , President of the Communications Workers of America

Washington, DC While Senators undoubtedly plan to grill these mobile phone makers and carriers, we'll be holding the politicians' feet to the fire with our award-winning Sunlight Live platform. Visit to watch live video streams, read contemporaneous real-time blogging and follow the campaign and lobbying money with our integrated data cards.

So tune in at 10 a.m. on both days to learn not just what Apple, Google, AT&T and T-Mobile are up to, but how cozy Senators and the wireless industry have gotten with campaign contributions and lobbying. We'll see you at

Full disclosure: A few Sunlight projects have been funded by Google.