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Apple Lays Out Location Collection Policies 281

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-to-worry-about-friends dept.
itwbennett writes "In a 13-page reply (PDF) to questions from Congressmen Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Joe Barton of Texas, Apple said iPhones running OS 3.2 or iOS 4 collect GPS data and encrypt it before sending it back to Apple every 12 hours via Wi-Fi. Attached to the GPS data is a random identification number generated by the phone every 24 hours. The information is not associated with a particular customer and Apple uses the data to analyze traffic patterns and density, it said. Apple collects such data from customers who have approved the use of location-based capabilities on the phone and who actually use an application that requires GPS."
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Apple Lays Out Location Collection Policies

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  • Turn the tables! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DWMorse (1816016)

    A story about Apple? Let's all talk about Google now! Google!

    But seriously, the best part of this whole article is here:

    Barton wasn't so positive. "While I applaud Apple for responding to our questions, I remain concerned about privacy policies that run on for pages and pages,"

    Amen, Barton. Obfuscation through walls of text is a scummy way to slip clauses past consumers. Too bad every company does it today.

    • by imamac (1083405) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @08:14AM (#32962488)

      Amen, Barton. Obfuscation through walls of text is a scummy way to slip clauses past consumers.

      Too bad congress does it every day with Federal legislation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Robert Bowles (2733)

        No, it's not scummy when congress does it. They're protecting us. The walls of legislative text are actually a defense barrier, shielding our precious little minds from harmful truths. And let's be realistic, we wouldn't understand the truth anyway.

    • by dangitman (862676)

      Amen, Barton. Obfuscation through walls of text is a scummy way to slip clauses past consumers. Too bad every company does it today.

      I thought you were about to issue a cutting remark castigating the pages upon pages of arbitrary legislation issued by the government, but that's all you come up with? While praising the hypocritical Congressman at the same time? Damn, that was weak sauce.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by DWMorse (1816016)

        Seems it would be hypocritical otherwise, had I not kept it short and simple. =)

        But hey, here's your chance, the opportunity to issue a cutting remark of your own if you feel it's so necessary. Unless imamac beat you to it.

      • by mspohr (589790)
        I don't think our fine legislators actually write the legislation. Most bills are written by or with extensive "input" from lobbyists representing corporate interests. The reason they are so long and complicated is that it is difficult to write language that gives the corporations exactly what they want while appearing to "protect America" or "help the common man". It's not arbitrary. It's very carefully crafted to benefit corporations and keep the "campaign contributions" (bribes) coming.
      • Not to mention that the Congressman apparently suffers from AADD if he can't read through a 13-page report written in more or less plain English. And, yes, I did read the linked PDF file. It wasn't exactly gripping but I had no problem getting though it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Lars T. (470328)

          Not to mention that the Congressman apparently suffers from AADD if he can't read through a 13-page report written in more or less plain English. And, yes, I did read the linked PDF file. It wasn't exactly gripping but I had no problem getting though it.

          Actually, I think he's talking about Apple's Privacy Policy [apple.com] - which is as long as it is due to requirements of the law.

    • It a litigious society, how exactly do you propose that Apple (or any company) protects themselves?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Neil_Brown (1568845)

        It a litigious society, how exactly do you propose that Apple (or any company) protects themselves?

        Longer documents, or documents using longer words, are not necessarily any more protective or beneficial to a company than shorter documents - I'd rather have a clearer document, which a consumer can understand, than pages of documentation which a customer is unlikely to read. One also needs to be mindful of the difference between notifications to a customer, and contractual terms - confusing the two can

        • Re:Turn the tables! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by vague disclaimer (861154) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:02AM (#32962902)
          Longer documents, or documents using longer words, are not necessarily any more protective or beneficial to a company than shorter documents ***snip*** I am in favour of reducing documentation put before consumers (and suppliers, for that matter) to that which is absolutely necessary in a given situation.

          True enough, but Apple is in a market that is rapidly evolving and what is "absolutely necessary" is far from settled.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Neil_Brown (1568845)

            True enough, but Apple is in a market that is rapidly evolving and what is "absolutely necessary" is far from settled.

            Sure- I work for a company which, whilst different, is in a very similar environment. I'd rather amend and update a policy / document, as needed, with the aim of maximising clarity and relevance for any given time, than bundling everything in upfront, on the basis that it might, one day, be relevant - I don't think a consumer / user benefits from this approach.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by icebraining (1313345)

              Amending stuff after people bought it is worse than having a dense legal paper upfront. What if people don't agree with your amendments? Should you be allowed to force them? I don't think you should, they already bought it and you agreed to offer them the product with that policy.

              • Amending stuff after people bought it is worse than having a dense legal paper upfront. What if people don't agree with your amendments? Should you be allowed to force them? I don't think you should, they already bought it and you agreed to offer them the product with that policy.

                A fair point - I attempted to address it indirectly above, when talking about the distinction between contractual terms, and notices.

                A modification to a contractual term should not be forced upon a user, or slid into a page

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              I'd rather amend and update a policy / document, as needed, with the aim of maximising clarity and relevance for any given time,

              Actually it is far from clear that Apple is doing anything different, but either way it strikes me as quite a high risk approach in a common law system.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I don't understand why Apple is collecting these data. I get why AT&T wiould want to analyse traffic patterns, but AT&T wouldn't need the phones to send them back; they have info from the towers.

      What's Apple doing with the data?

      • Re:Turn the tables! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @08:44AM (#32962722) Homepage Journal

        I just read a story about exactly why Apple would want to collect that data [wired.com]. Seems there's been a bit of a tug-of-war between Apple and AT&T on that very subject and it looks like iPhone customers are caught in the middle of it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DJRumpy (1345787)

          Looks more like AT&T is pleading with Apple to be kind and Apple is telling AT&T to stuff it.

          But in meetings with Apple engineers and marketers over the subsequent year, Rinne and other AT&T executives discovered that Apple wasn’t playing by traditional wireless rules. It wasn’t interested in cooperating, especially if it meant hobbling what had quickly become its marquee product. For Apple, the idea of restricting the iPhone was akin to asking Steve Jobs to ditch the black turtlenec

          • I also found this part particularly funny. Talk about a difference in corporate environment...

            I particularly liked that. AT&T and Apple are partners, not a client/contractor pair or anything. AT&T has no more right to demand a specific dress code from Apple employees than Apple does to demand AT&T employees to wear jeans and turtlenecks to meetings. That the answer drips with just makes it hilarious :)

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            When an AT&T representative suggested to one of Jobs' deputies that the Apple CEO wear a suit to meet with AT&T's board of directors, he was told, "We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits.

            Damn, I'm going to have to buy a mac now! All I wear is tshirts, blue jeans, and sandals (tennis shoes when it's cold). Or maybe I'll just get an iPod.

    • I don't need 13 pages of document to explain the location collection policies. That's ridiculous. The average consumer is going to understand this? I think not.

      The simple solution Apple, is to not distribute nor collect it.

  • Intelligence test (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concern (819622) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @08:12AM (#32962470) Journal

    Wow, a new ID every 24 hours, huh? Am I supposed to be impressed? What do you think, are they deliberately creating "anonymizing" measures they can circumvent, or are they just retarded?

    Let's just assume it actually works as they say and there isn't some easy way to link the random ID the real phone. Say, by web server logs. Duh.

    If I get 24 hours, I get where you woke up this morning and where you'll go to bed tonight. I almost certainly know where you live, and then I know where you were all day. The lat/long itself during stationary periods especially at night is an identifier.

    If you guys are comfortable letting Apple or anyone else have this, it's just because your brain hasn't digested what it means yet. Don't worry, wait for the first few scandals. It will take a few years - maybe long enough for every asshole company to start doing this. But it will get easier to understand.

    This response by apple is an intelligence test for Congress and for the American public. Sharpen your pencils, let's see if you pass...

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @08:37AM (#32962656)
      Um, they already know where I live. That would be the address where my phone bill arrives. It's also the billing address of the credit card I used to sign up with iTunes. But holy shit, now they know the same thing with GPS! It's like 1984 or something! AAAGGHHHH!!!
      • by PseudonymousBraveguy (1857734) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:06AM (#32962938)
        They know where you live, but now they also know (and STORE) where you work, where you hang out after work, and to which medical institutions you may go to regulary.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by oodaloop (1229816)
          And why would the the care about that again? Why would they correlate all that stuff for millions of users on a daily basis? For kicks?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's right. But now they ALSO know how much time you spend at home, how you get to work, where you work, where you buy coffee, the stores you frequent,,,, the list goes on. What a lucrative trove of information they now have to parse and analyze.

        It sure sounds like a great compliment to iAdd.

        You have something to sell? Dog food you say? Well I just happen to know a whole bunch of people who frequently visit pet stores and also happen to take walks in the park three times a day.

        Unethical and nefarious

      • by openfrog (897716) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:18AM (#32963082)

        You have missed the point.

        Having your address in a client database in one thing, collecting your whereabouts is an entirely different one. Thus the claim by Apple and their studied reply to congressman Markey that they dutifully anonymise such information. The grandparent points out that this claim is entirely invalid, and you have done nothing to disprove him.

        The grandparent interestingly posits this as an intelligence test for Congress and the American public. Despite your brashness, you seem to have failed it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tokul (682258)

        Um, they already know where I live. That would be the address where my phone bill arrives. It's also the billing address of the credit card I used to sign up with iTunes.

        you don't have to live in location where your phone bill arrives. Any sane service provider might try to reduce billing costs and deliver bills electronically. I haven't received bill for my cell in last 6 years. No paper bill for land line in last 2 years.

      • Breathe deeply (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Concern (819622) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:32AM (#32963198) Journal

        When did it become so fashionable to become so vehemently confused?

        They know where you live, so they can correlate it with your GPS coordinates at night. Then they know every single step everyone takes all day long.

        And yes, in case you read the book and were wondering, that actually is worse than anything Orwell imagined Big Brother could have in 1984.

        • by oodaloop (1229816)

          And yes, in case you read the book and were wondering, that actually is worse than anything Orwell imagined Big Brother could have in 1984.

          So the government is mandating everyone to buy iPhones and making them turn on GPS tracking? Or is one company tracking users who voluntarily turn on GPS tracking really worse than anything Orwell foretold? Maybe you should take a few deep breathes yourself.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Concern (819622)

            Orwell's fictional government never had any tools as powerful for monitoring their citizens movement as what Apple now has. I know reading 1984 is less fashionable than referencing it, so your confusion there is forgivable I guess.

            Apple opts everyone into this location sharing system. They don't make a choice, unless you can choose to not "participate in iAds." Most don't even know it's there. Poll any 100 iPhone users and see how many of them can even explain to you what this system is and how this system

        • by EnglishTim (9662)

          When did it become so fashionable to become so vehemently confused?

          They know where you live, so they can correlate it with your GPS coordinates at night. Then they know every single step everyone takes all day long.

          And yes, in case you read the book and were wondering, that actually is worse than anything Orwell imagined Big Brother could have in 1984.

          I have read the book, and I'm pretty sure it's not worse than anything imagined in Big Brother. Given the choice between Apple having some intermittent GPS waypoints of my movements and Apple forcing me to live in a one-room hovel with a live video feed of everything I do, I think I'd stick with the GPS waypoints.

      • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dachshund (300733) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @10:30AM (#32964090)

        Um, they already know where I live. That would be the address where my phone bill arrives. It's also the billing address of the credit card I used to sign up with iTunes. But holy shit, now they know the same thing with GPS! It's like 1984 or something! AAAGGHHHH!!!

        You seem to be missing the point. Apple specifically indicated to Congress that they anonymize location data by assigning a unique random ID every 24 hours. Presumably the goal is to disassociate your location information from the details that Apple already knows, i.e., your name and home address. That way Apple can claim they're not collecting data that would actively violate a user's privacy. More specifically, the theory is to prevent Apple (or someone malicious who obtains the database) from associating "a phone at some series of locations throughout the day" with "John K. Oodaloop at 4945 Spring Place". If this anonymization actually works, then customers can rest easy that they're not carrying an active tracking device with them all day that's recording their movements into a long-lived and possibly ill-secured database.

        Clearly this is what Apple would like Congress to believe, anyway, and that's why they're "anonymizing" the data in the first place.

        The grandparent poster is pointing out that Apple's anonymization really stinks, and that with some very minimal data mining you should be able to easily de-anonymize it and link those phone movements with the phone's owner. As you point out, Apple already has your billing address (which is likely to be your home or work), so this de-anonymization should be especially trivial. Therefore one can't really credit Apple with anything significant when they say they anonymize your data.

        In my mind the fear is /not/ that Apple will track me and sell ads (hey, non-stupid advertising would be an improvement). It's that this data will never ever go away, and will eventually find its way into the hands of third parties who aren't so interested in my well being. For example, it might wind up someday being sold to third party "marketing" agencies, and then eventually to firms that do credit reporting, private investigation, background checks, etc. Mobile phone companies already seem perfectly content to sell my call logs this way, so this isn't without precedent. Or else it will be written to a hard drive that might someday be carelessly thrown away without being properly wiped (after all, the data is "anonymized", so why worry?). While my movements are generally pretty uninteresting, I don't love the idea that by carrying an iPhone I'll be constantly leaving a trail of potentially long-lived breadcrumbs that may never, ever go away.

        And no, this isn't limited to Apple. Once it becomes accepted practice, you can be more or less certain that any device with an Internet connection and GPS (which will be a lot of devices in the future!) will be doing the same thing.

        • ... Apple already has your billing address (which is likely to be your home or work), so this de-anonymization should be especially trivial ...

          I am not an attorney but my understanding is that Personally Identifiable Information (PII) has all sorts of legal requirements regarding access and use. Anonymized data is considered non-PII and has fewer restrictions, however the moment non-PII is associated with PII the non-PII legally becomes PII and subject to the access and usage safeguards. I'd wager that all those handling the non-PII have been lectured by corporate attorneys (I was in my past life where I handled anonymized data that could theor

          • by Concern (819622)

            I don't know why you'd wager that. They've specifically described they're using a worthless technique for anonymizing the data (random ID changes on a 24 hour cycle). You will never get a clearer sign of either bad intentions or total ineptitude, and it doesn't matter which it is.

            • by perpenso (1613749)

              I don't know why you'd wager that. They've specifically described they're using a worthless technique for anonymizing the data (random ID changes on a 24 hour cycle). You will never get a clearer sign of either bad intentions or total ineptitude, and it doesn't matter which it is.

              I'll just reemphasize that access to the raw anonymized data is most likely severely restricted and that what is distributed/accessible has most likely been processed into aggregate data describing groups not individuals, areas not specific locations.

      • by PPH (736903)
        They don't know where I live. My credit card (and billing address) have no relationship to my residence.
    • by garcia (6573)

      What I want to know is why they believe it's ok if I've allowed ANOTHER party to have my GPS data that I should automatically be opted in to allow them to have my data by default. Just because I gave a single application my permission to use my location data, one time only (that's how I do it for say Google Maps), does not mean that Steve can find out where my bars are dropping because I'm holding his phone wrong (no, I don't have an iPhone4 nor will I).

      Now instead of just having to deal with one asshole co

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Its the Apple cult like way. They dont go looking for you in the wild but if you buy in, they seem to like you a lot on the idevices :)
      Most of the tracking could be done via any fusion centre for local cops, state, federal or nas needs.
      So yes Apple is happy as its not a Google mistake or MS data drop, just some friendly stats to make the service better.
      Long term it feels better to have Linux in your pocket. Then its just you, the telco, the nsa and the foreign billing corp.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)
      If you have a problem with it then - and I'll even bold the text so you don't miss it - TURN IT OFF! Their location services can be turned off on an app-by-app basis (and the pop up window that asks if they can gather your location is very clear and concise - nobody will be fooled into it) or can be globally turned off, system wide. If you are concerned about people knowing where you are, don't let them know. It's really not that hard.

      Seriously, it's getting rather tedious watching the Apple haters come u
      • What must pass for a logical reason in your mind? They automatically opted everyone into sharing their every move all day long.

        I would respect them more if they simply said, "You bought our phones, so we will spy on your every move. If you don't like it, don't buy them." Instead they make it twice as bad by insulting your intelligence with an "anonymization" scheme so obviously ineffective that it really makes it clear what contempt they have for their customers.

        They not only want to spy on your every move,

        • They automatically opted everyone into sharing their every move all day long.

          No. They didn't. You must approve their location services collecting the data for each app. Every. Single. One. They have location services turned on, by default, but you must opt in for each and every app to make use of that service. Every. Single. One. You are not opted in by default.

          So, what is a logical reason, in my mind? One that isn't wrong. You're wrong. Find a legitimate reason to hate Apple and I won't give a rat's ass - people can hate whatever company they want - but if you make up reasons to

          • Did you read the letter?

            Apps have to ask permission. Already this is retarded - feel free to say no to location tracking, as long as you don't want iTunes store on your iDevice?

            Yeah, awesome.

            But what about page 9? It appears iAd collects this information independently, as long as location services are enabled on the phone at all. I'm of the understanding they are by default.

            Shall I quote? I shall.

            As specified in the updated Policy and the iPhone 4 and iPod touch SLAs, customers may opt out of interest-base

          • by tibman (623933)

            I think he's saying that there is no way to use a GPS service without being tracked by apple. You can't opt out of being tracked if you want to use your GPS feature.

      • If you have a problem with it then - and I'll even bold the text so you don't miss it - TURN IT OFF!

        OK, so I am using Google maps and allow the Google Map App to access the GPS. Fine, now Google knows the data. Why is this data later also send to Apple? What kind of choice is this? Apple has absolutely no rights (legally maybe, but not legitimately) to that data.

      • by zmollusc (763634)

        So, because I don't trust Apple, I should trust Apple's app to shut off the gps in Apple's hardware?

        Oooo-kay!

        • If you don't trust Apple, why are you buying an Apple product? Don't trust them, don't buy their product. Problem solved.
    • I'm on Boost Mobile; no contract. Paid cash for the phone, connection fee, and $50 monthly bills which you pay like you'd pay for minutes on a minute phone (pay cash for a PIN at any gas station). And that $50 covers everything my daughter gets on her T-Mobile and she's paying over twice what I do.

    • by Lars T. (470328)

      Wow, a new ID every 24 hours, huh? Am I supposed to be impressed? What do you think, are they deliberately creating "anonymizing" measures they can circumvent, or are they just retarded?

      Considering this "24 hour ID" is not mentioned anywhere in the information provided by Apple but only in the article - you'll have to ask the author of TFA.

    • ... Let's just assume it actually works as they say and there isn't some easy way to link the random ID the real phone. Say, by web server logs ...

      In another life I collected, handled and processed anonymized data. Due to the severe legal repercussions of allowing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to be associated with anonymized non-PII we took steps to avoid such potential associations. For example our server logs for the anonymized data did not record the IP address. I could not associate the anonymized data with real customers if I had wanted to. I'd wager similar steps are being taken at Apple, and that the "easy" methods are not as

  • If i take the phone serial number, and append a few random digits to it, is this considered random? Not in my book, but i doubt that this "privacy policy" contains wording on that.

  • Honestly, I am baffled. I know that the iPhone always asks if an app wants to access the localization service, which I though is just the GPS receiver in the phone. It makes sense to ask, if you do not trust the app (or you know, it will send that information somewhere). But that Apple is harvesting this data is news to me - and I do not take that lightly. What right do they have to get the data, when I use the internal GPS receiver of the iPhoned? Next, they get my browsing history, or what?

  • by pablo_max (626328) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @08:43AM (#32962708)

    Apple collects such data from customers who have approved the use of location-based capabilities on the phone and who actually use an application that requires GPS."

    So basically there is a 13 page document that someone should read when prior to initially powering on the GPS?
    Most folks and if I'm honest, myself included would not assume that my using and navigation program would have in any way constituted my intention to let Jobs know where I am and what I am doing.

    What's interesting to me is how much this company lies to people and yet so many folks defend them. Take this situation for example, is it true that Apple has buried a "technically" accurate description of that they are doing in their T&C's? Most assuredly. It is also assuredly true that it's written in such a way that the laymen would be oblivious to the fact.
    Based on that, there will be many out there who say, Jobs didn't then and fuck you if you ever call him a liar!" To these people I must ask, where do you come from?
    I was raised to know that deliberately trying to deceive a person for group of people, whether I use technically accurate information or not, is still lying. I recon these are the same folks who discipline their children with a harsh time-out and no PS3 for 6 hours.
    Still, it is indicative of our culture.

    • Your phone company keeps records of where you are at any time based on which towers your attached to. Law enforcement can get that data.
      The phone company also has access to this data, who knows what they are using it for (hopefully to place towers near congestion)?
      Apple is not alone in this It appears Tom Tom/ Google are using their mapping app to get peoples speeds to get traffic info to feed back into the system...

      • Your phone company keeps records of where you are at any time based on which towers your attached to. Law enforcement can get that data.

        Bad enough. But why should Apple, Nokia, LG, RIM, etc. get that data too? After all, they could ask me whether I want to help them by sending this data - just making it mandatory to accept their rules if you want to use the GPS in the iPhone does not sound like a fair choice to me. And, btw, nobody told me when I got the iPhone - it has been disclosed now, and not really to me as the customer, but to the congress.

    • by js3 (319268)

      Save your breath. If apple asked them for everything including their penis size, the applefanatics would glady give that info. Leave them be man.

  • So what happens when stolen phone IDs are correlated with their GPS locations? Individually, they might not make much sense, but surely a concentration of stolen phones at a singular location could perhaps help solve issues identifying the thieves?
  • by magamiako1 (1026318) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @08:54AM (#32962810)
    Amusingly enough this has been finally mentioned, but what I've been thinking the most is how many applications use my GPS data for something other than just pointing out my location? Nearly ever major app has this now--particularly restaurant locators and movie theater locators. But you gotta wonder how many of them are collecting that GPS data.

    I don't really see much wrong with it, it's far more accurate than "zip code" location that are otherwise used in marketing
  • Apple collects such data from customers who have approved the use of location-based capabilities on the phone and who actually use an application that requires GPS.

    In other words anyone running an app from the app-store has already agreed to the use this data - see: http://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/06/22/0318202/Apple-Wants-To-Share-Your-Location-With-Others [slashdot.org]

    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.

    We'll for the time being I'll stick with my run-of-the-mill dumb-phone :)

  • Citation needed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Meneth (872868) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @09:15AM (#32963046)
    There is no way to verify what they're telling us, because the software is not free.
  • My nephew recently tried my Android app called, "Speed Limit".
    It wouldn't work on his phone because he didn't have GPS enabled.
    I asked why?
    He said, "Big Brother".


    Who do I write to to DEMAND that jobs quits logging ANYTHING related to location?
    This will ruin location apps!
    Traffic patterns are studied by the Carriers. Whats next? HTC monitoring, Motorola monitoring, Opera monitoring?
    After 5 years of reading slashdot, I am writing a letter on this one. jp
    • You're trolling, right? Speed Limit is a tool that uses GPS to check your car speed and inform you if you went over the limit. Of course it requires GPS.
  • Honestly, I do not care at all about companies like apple and google collecting satistics about my phone usage, including location. I really don't care. I mean, at most they will be making money selling those satistics to another company while not giving money back to me. I seriously don't think steve has any interest in knowing where I live or where I go.

    However, I fully understand how there are many people who do not feel comfortable by any of this.

    I think it would be less of a problem if they would give

  • Remember when it was discovered that iTunes was sending anonymized playlist data back to Apple for market-research purposes? Everyone on /. (or nearly so) cried "Big Brother!". But, here we are five years later, and I defy you to find anyone who has had their ACTUAL privacy or identity compromised by that policy.

    Apple has a pretty good track record of respecting users' privacy and identities. If no one can demonstrate that a EIN-type identifier or actual phone number can be extracted in less than a lifeti

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