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Apple Addresses Location Concerns

Article Comments  8  

Apr 27, 2011, 8:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Apple today published a Q&A document regarding the iPhone's location tracking and storing behavior. Apple says that the data captured by the iPhone does not represent users' exact locations, but is instead a crowd-sourced map of cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. Apple says it keeps this database so that the iPhone can supply accurate location data more quickly when called upon by applications that need it. Since the entire database is too large to store on an iPhone at any given time, only a small cache of it resides of the device. The rest is synced back to a computer, where it is "protected but not encrypted." Apple noted that users who encrypt the back-up files of their iPhone by default also encrypt this location data, though it can't be done selectively. Apple admits that there is a bug with the system and it stores too much data for too long, and also continues to collect location data when location services are turned off. Apple said it plans to issue a software update soon to fix these issues. Apple also noted that user information is not shared with third parties unless expressly approved by the end user. Apple also noted that it collects traffic information that it hopes to one day use to improve live traffic conditions to iPhone users. Apple said that the data will be encrypted once the next major version of iOS is released.

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Living Silver

Apr 29, 2011, 1:39 AM

I'm calling bullcr*p!

Evil or Very Mad
So what is this: because of a "bug", Apple keeps the data they collect longer than they said they would? Bull crap! The bug fix their releasing is not to fix a bug, but their excuse (or attempt, depending on who's view) to back out of a law suit by updating their software.
Apple keeps the data they collect

They don't "keep" your data at all.

than they said they would?

They never gave any indication of how long they would keep your data to begin with.


Apr 27, 2011, 9:24 AM

This is interesting but...

I think it's more the media trying to hype up something that really doesn't matter.

"But Apple is spying on us!!!'

No, they are not.

Apple is doing nothing that breaches security or privacy of iPhone owners.

The full Q&A gives a very detailed explanation about what location data is being collected, by what means, and why they collect such data.

I think the softwa...
I agree. It's getting stupid. It just shows how easily scared people are these days. It stores info on your computer and cell phone...not your neighbors iTunes account, not the FBI, not Obama (I hope). And the average user probably doesn't even know h...
Eric M. Zeman

Apr 27, 2011, 8:12 AM

Here's the Full Q&A

1. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?
Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

2. Then why is everyone so concerned about this?
Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.

3. Why is my iPhone logging my location?
The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current ...
At least they're planning on doing something to fix the issue and admit there's a problem. That's a new strategy for Apple.
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