Almost inevitably, the government is waking up to the Carrier IQ smartphone tracking story: Senator Al Franken, Chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and Law, has asked Carrier IQ to clarify exactly what its software can do. Franken specifically wants to know what data is recorded on devices with Carrier IQ, what data is sent, if it's sent to Carrier IQ or carriers themselves, how long it's stored once received, and how it's protected once stored. In other words, all the same questions we've been asking since this story first broke. Franken's asked Carrier IQ to respond by December 14, so hopefully we'll have some real answers soon — the company hasn't responded to repeated requests for comment from us or any other press outlet that we've seen.

Senator Franken led a rather pointed hearing of the privacy subcommittee over the summer after the iPhone's location tracking system led to some controversy — he asked Apple and Google exactly what information Android and iOS devices were recording, and closed the session by saying that he had "serious doubts" about how well consumer privacy was protected on mobile devices. We'll see if Carrier IQ can put those doubts to rest.