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Iphone Privacy Apple

Apple Wants To Share Your Location With Others 248

Posted by kdawson
from the leaving-more-than-virtual-tracks dept.
Farhood sends in this snip from the LA Times: "In an updated version of its privacy policy, the company added a paragraph noting that once users agree, Apple and unspecified 'partners and licensees' may collect and store user location data. When users attempt to download apps or media from the iTunes store, they are prompted to agree to the new terms and conditions. Until they agree, they cannot download anything through the store. The company says the data is anonymous and does not personally identify users. Analysts have shown, however, that large, specific data sets can be used to identify people based on behavior patterns." Mashable and The Consumerist have picked up on this collection and sharing of "precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device."
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Apple Wants To Share Your Location With Others

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  • Beh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:21AM (#32650720) Homepage Journal

    s/share/sell/

    s/with/to/

    • by sonnejw0 (1114901)
      Except you can opt out at http://oo.apple.com/ [apple.com] on your iOS4 Device.
      • That's the opt-out page for targeted iAds. What does it have to do with this story?

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          The location data collection is part of the iAds framework.

          You can also just turn off location services, or control what apps can use it. Whether this will affect what the core OS does is another matter.

          • The TOS definitely talks about these features totally separately: the Opt-out service is described like this "If you do not want to receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you can opt out...". It doesn't say you won't be tracked...

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      And one of their licensees just happens to be the FBI.

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:24AM (#32650738)
    Isn't this exactly what we lambaste Google for?

    In an updated version of its privacy policy, the company added a paragraph noting that once users agree, Apple and unspecified 'partners and licensees' may collect and store user location data.

    Well not quite, Google does not explicitly state they are planning on selling your data.

    When users attempt to download apps or media from the iTunes store, they are prompted to agree to the new terms and conditions. Until they agree, they cannot download anything through the store.

    Does anyone still wonder why it is bad to be beholden to a single supply chain?

    So Apple does not want you to have freedom or respects your privacy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goombah99 (560566)

      It's not necessarily the same thing that google does.

      When you install an app that uses location data then the app almost certainly already knows exactly who you are, no inferences needed. So the question is not if apps are accessing your location data but if apple is downloading it to the mothership and selling this to third parties whose apps you did not purchase. However there that daya may or may not be processed before handing over. For example, if they hand over a string of locations and times you

      • IU was just thinking that you could even quantitate the degree of information being handed over and it's likelihood it identifies you. Some measure like the entropy or the mutual information of the data set correlation might quantify the uniquness. That is how many bits in uncertainty would there be on a user ID. Companies could even Publish this in their privacy statements. e.g. apple might say they rank a 11 privacy bits, meaning that the average user is idenitifed to only one pool of 2048 individual

      • by bdsesq (515351)

        How about a histogram of when you and your SO are NOT at home. A little burglary anyone?

    • One more reason to keep my money in my pocket. Otherwise when another carrier besides the hated AT&T gets iPhones, I'd have been tempted to buy one. Not now. Apple makes some cool shit, but until they start respecting their customers I'll never be one.

  • by onion2k (203094)

    What the update means is that they've relaxed the application vetting so apps that use the geolocation API aren't scrutinised as much as they used to be. Apple are telling users that apps can, and will, collect and store your location data, and that they're not going to stop them even if there's no reason for the app to be doing it. The app will still ask you if you want to share your location as it always has done.

    Who tells you that might be happening if you have an Android phone? Or if you install a brows

    • by MrHanky (141717) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:41AM (#32650826) Homepage Journal

      It's different from Google like this: Quoting Cory Doctorow: "This is different from Android, in that Google does not gather your information unless you opt in, and if you do opt in, you can opt out later.

      "By contrast, Apple gathers your information without asking you to opt in, and does not present you with the option of opting out.

      "What's more, Apple is presenting these new terms retrospectively. People who bought iPads and iPods on the understanding that they could be used without having their location information gathered and shared now find that they *must* allow this information to be gathered and shared (I suppose you could try not updating iTunes, but then you would also have to not upgrade your OS -- OS upgrades come with iTunes upgrades -- and be prepared to be locked out of the app store, and since Apple's use of DRM prevents third parties from putting apps on your devices, you're fundamentally abandoning any hope of loading any code, even third-party code, onto your iPad and iPod)."

      Of course, he may or may not be correct.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Lupu (815408)

        People who bought iPads and iPods on the understanding that they could be used without having their location information gathered and shared now find that they *must* allow this information to be gathered and shared (I suppose you could try not updating iTunes, but then you would also have to not upgrade your OS -- OS upgrades come with iTunes upgrades -- and be prepared to be locked out of the app store, and since Apple's use of DRM prevents third parties from putting apps on your devices, you're fundamentally abandoning any hope of loading any code, even third-party code, onto your iPad and iPod).

        Sounds like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.

    • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @06:52AM (#32651142)

      "Who tells you that might be happening if you have an Android phone? Or if you install a browser that enables the geolocation services of HTML 5 on your PC (eg http://html5demos.com/geo [html5demos.com] )? No one. They don't have to."

      Wrong. Each time you install an Android app, before accepting installation you've given a run down of what permissions the app requires, this includes things like internet access, or making phone calls, but also includes things like judging your rough location using cell masts etc., or judging your fine grained location using GPS. Regarding Google services doing geolocation, that's an option you'll get first time you turn your phone on and can easily change in the menus later if you choose if it has the Google apps pre-installed. I'm not sure why you think they can't stop it on Android, because Android has a marketplace too and all but the most technical users who know the risks anyway use this path for installing apps.

      As for IP based geolocation on a PC, frankly I could care less. Even if I'm not using a VPN or something the best they can do is judge my location to be in an area large enough to contain a population of 20 million people. Apart from telling my country that's largely useless information, and that's all it's really used for as it's all that it can be used for, certainly it's not really enough to track you as an individual over and above what your IP already allows.

    • by tpgp (48001) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:39AM (#32651374) Homepage

      Who tells you that might be happening if you have an Android phone?

      The Android Operating system tells you on installation.

      Or if you install a browser that enables the geolocation services of HTML 5 on your PC?

      Well, that browser is also an application - and android tells you on installation that it can access (amongst others), the following permission: "Your Location: coarse (network based) location, fine (GPS) location."

      No one. They don't have to. They can't really, because there isn't a "gatekeeper" controlling it all.

      Don't believe everything the iPhone fanboys tell you. The above statement is totally incorrect.

    • When I visit that website in my browser (firefox) I get a little bar at the top asking if I want to share my location with the website. So I vet the sites myself on a case by case basis rather than having Apple decide for me. I am under the impression that Android has a similar permissions system when you install an app.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dwinks616 (1536791)
      Every application on Android that uses GPS or Coarse location data explicitly tells you it does when you install it, and if upgraded, it also tells you that it pulls location data if it still uses it, or if the upgrade added that feature. Nothing on the Android store can use GPS data without you knowing.
    • I think you're missing what they're really doing. In the past if an app included location-specific advertising there used to be a pop-up asking you if the app could use your location. Now that they've told all the other ad networks that they can't do location-specific advertising but bundled this same feature into iAd, they've added this text to the Terms of Service so that iAd can deliver location-specific advertising without asking your permission (because you gave it to them when you hit OK on the ToS)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by farble1670 (803356)

      Who tells you that might be happening if you have an Android phone?

      wrong.

      on android, and app must explicitly declare the services it needs to access in its manifest, and those permission are shown to to the user before they install the app. that includes permission to obtain the user's location.

  • Not an Apple issue (Score:5, Informative)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:41AM (#32650830) Journal
    Any cell phone provider has the power to do exactly this. This is despicable, that Apple or anyone else does, but this is the kind of thing we have to expect from the current carriers and the current, almost inexistent, framework of laws protecting privacy.
  • by DarkEntity (1089729) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:46AM (#32650852)

    this degree of Latitude?

  • Do the right thing: for every app you write, upload user location data every 15 minutes for three months. After that quarter, publish the movements of your users to a site with an innocuous name like, say, www.findoutwhethermyiphoneusingpartnerisacheatingbastard.com. Even if you didn't upload other identifying data, it would be very easy to filter on individuals by listing a few places you know they visit. Indeed, I'm sure any intelligence service worth its secret budget tracks people who may be carrying u

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      A cool idea, turn ad tracking and profit making back on the multinational. Expose the system to the world with easy to understand images in a press pack.
      Someone is paying for the data, show what Apple is selling.
      Adamo Bove, head of security at Telecom Italia did show what could be done with the tracking in the case of the CIA rendition team in Italy (2006).
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      "This app wants to use your location. Allow?"

      * taps "Don't allow"

      Problem solved.

      • If I ask to borrow your lawnmower, I probably mean that I want to use it right now rather than every 15 minutes for the next three months. Which does Apple allow?

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          You *probably* mean that, but what assurance do I have that you'll give it back?

          To be fair, both requests are vague, and now Apple's has a further clause that it did not have before that you have to dig in the small print to find.

          You can just say "no" though.

  • by Exitar (809068) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:59AM (#32650906)

    I've heard it will introduce Ius primae noctis
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droit_de_seigneur [wikipedia.org]

    The worrying part will be reading how Apple fanbois will be very proud of having Jobs "test ride" their brides.

  • Redownload (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @06:15AM (#32650968) Homepage

    Can you still re-download apps you purchased under an old agreement without signing the new agreement?

  • There have been many attempts by people to track down stocks of iPads in shops - now Apple is building a database of what iPads are where.

    Considering the other attractive, valuable goods their owners may also have the value of this data to criminals will be quite high.

    Of course it is safe (you can trust Apple) and their servers are secure (nobody ever hacked a Mac) and their partners can be trusted (AT&T are a good company).

    :-)

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Actually, on a serious note, this is what I'm concerned about. By itself, Apple doesn't care one whit about what I am doing. However, there are companies and people who would love to have real time location data:

      1: A DA is looking to run a query of anyone who is in a park after dark. She gets the iLocation data, finds a number of people's phones were in the area, then arrests them all for criminal trespass up to two years (statute of limitations) after the fact. This evidence easily persuades a jury to

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @06:41AM (#32651072)
    Firstly, will this bring about any (if present) early termination clause in contracts as a "significant change in terms?"

    Secondly, as this is Hobson's Choice [wikipedia.org] (Accept or lose access to the App Store) will it fall foul of unfair terms in consumer contract legislation?
    • Firstly, will this bring about any (if present) early termination clause in contracts as a "significant change in terms?"

      Would it be even possible to break the contract with AT&T, if you no longer agree with the new terms of Apple? I only have the iPod, although from what I understand it would make this fancy smart phone practically pointless with out all the apps..

    • by PitaBred (632671)

      Only if the PS3 also does. I'm guessing since it benefits a corporation and not the citizens, it's going to be fine.

  • by blake1 (1148613) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @06:49AM (#32651128)
    Settings > General > Location Services

    Now you can choose which apps are able to access your location information, or disable this feature altogether. Was that really so hard?

  • Just opt out... (Score:5, Informative)

    by aardwolf64 (160070) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @07:07AM (#32651210) Homepage

    That's about iAd, coming out July 1. According to the agreement (which practically no one reads), you can opt out by visiting this website with your iOS device:

    http://oo.apple.com/ [apple.com]

  • ... pray he does not alter it further.

  • Hail to Lord Steve who did remarquable Jobs :

    "One Apple to rule them all, One Apple to find them,
    One Apple to bring them all and in the darkness bind (blind ?) them."

    Or as Hamlett might have said, something is rotten in the board of Apple.

  • ... why, in order to buy music, I have to agree to let Apple sell my location to unknown businesses? What exactly is it about the music transaction that has anything at all to do with my location and some other company that have no relationship with?

    It's like going to the shop to buy an ice-cream and coming back to find some squatter living in your house.

  • iOS 4 has actually improved this a bit. You now can turn off location services for individual applications (as opposed to on/off for everything).

    If an application requests access to your current location it gets added to the "Location Services" control panel and your answer is remembered. Here you can also change access permissions for all apps that previously requested access to your location.

    If you allowed some app access to your location, but change your mind, you can disable access again. Before applica
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @10:36AM (#32652996)

    There's an app for that

  • Hypocrite: [merriam-webster.com] a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

    Apple wants to share your location with the world, yet Steve Jobs doesn't even put license plates [osxdaily.com] on his car for undisclosed (privacy?) reasons.

  • Google uses secretive drive by shooting tactics for stealing information from everyone and recording locations, even people who don't use their services, and I think that's a lot cooler. I mean, who shows up first in a gangsta rap video? Apple or Google? Hmm... OK, maybe Apple [engadget.com].
  • by indros13 (531405) * on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @01:46PM (#32655652) Homepage Journal

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