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Share Your iPhone Location Data Like You Mean It 94

Posted by timothy
from the and-or-like-it's-1999 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The crazy guys over at crowdflow.net are begging you for the location data that your iPhone collected without you being aware of it. All your data will be anonymized, and the whole combined data set of all donations will be shared under an OpenDataCommons license. Those people are data and visualization geeks and create beautiful visualizations like this from the data. They previously did a visualization of data retention caused by the German 'Vorratsdatenspeicherung.' Please consider donating your location data. ...and be fast, too, since the upcoming iOS software update (see Apple press release) will prevent further evaluation of the collected data."
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Share Your iPhone Location Data Like You Mean It

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  • by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Sunday May 01, 2011 @11:53AM (#35990982) Journal

    > the upcoming iOS software update (see Apple press release) will prevent further evaluation of the collected data.

    They forget to add a USB port to their iPad. Users cry out. Next iteration has a USB port.

    Users discover Apple is tracking them! Users cry out! Next iOS update makes it so they wouldn't have been able to see it in the first place.

    Why the fuck do people continue to use Apple? Why the hell doesn't Apple want their users to see how they're being tracked and where they're being tracked?

    So much for 'thinking different'.

  • by samkass (174571) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @12:01PM (#35991028) Homepage Journal

    They forget to add a USB port to their iPad. Users cry out. Next iteration has a USB port.

    iPad2 has exactly the same ports as the original iPad. It comes with a dock connecter-to-USB cable, just like the original. You can buy a USB port adapter, just like the original.

    Users discover Apple is tracking them! Users cry out! Next iOS update makes it so they wouldn't have been able to see it in the first place.

    No, users discover that their PHONE is tracking them so the phone can give your location to apps. The next update will cut the log retention time to a week and not back it up on the host computer (so it will be less accurate for awhile if you restore from backup, but the data can't be compromised via the backup.)

    Why the fuck do people continue to use Apple? Why the hell doesn't Apple want their users to see how they're being tracked and where they're being tracked?

    So much for 'thinking different'.

    Because they make the best stuff, and their biggest competitor is an advertising agency who REALLY DO track your data and sell it.

  • Re:Anonymous? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junta (36770) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @12:05PM (#35991038)

    Even then, you see a data trail that follows the towers along my commute most weekdays. Not many people will hit that same pattern. Bonus for knowing that I was out sick one day and noting that only one of the candidate trails didn't go in that day.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday May 01, 2011 @12:14PM (#35991084)

    iPad and iPad 2 have identical ports - the 30 pin dock connector, and it can be converted to a USB port with the USB connector kit. I'm not sure what you're actually saying with your sentence other than "I just made something up".

    Some non-users think "Apple is tracking people!", which is quickly proven to be overblown hype. Apple responds and says "ok, we'll make the log less useful to your phone in the future, oh and we don;t actually collect that data, it's used by the phone for Assisted GPS, oh and furthermore it's not tracking *you* it's logging the location of cell towers and wifi hotspots that I guess could be used to narrow down where you've been but these reports that we are 'tracking your every move' (direct quote) are nonsense".

    Non-users don't believe them, but then they already made their mind up that they wouldn't regardless of what Apple said.

    Life goes on.

    Six months down the line some new "controversy" will arise, like... I don't know, "OS X machines have IPv6 enabled by default, which is broadcasting a globally unique address that can be used to track you!" or some shit.

    People on slashdot will misunderstand, or wilfully misinterpret the "scandal" and come out with demonstrably false statements like "they forgot to add a USB port to iPad, and the next iteration has a USB port".

    (Seriously, that's one of the funniest things I've ever read. Have you actually ever *seen* an iPad or iPad 2, or actually done any googling? That has made my day.)

  • Hack it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @12:18PM (#35991106)

    I've always thought the solution for stuff like this was to hack it so it records what you want it to record. Lessee now, breakfast in San Francisco, lunch in Paris, where shall I go for dinner?

    ...laura

  • Re:Anonymous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <zalanmeggyesi AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday May 01, 2011 @12:18PM (#35991108)

    You know what's going to happen? They are going to pay you a visit one night, rob you, rape you, then point a crowbar satellite at your house.

    Get a grip already, for fuck's sake! The data is scrubbed of personally identifiable data, and you'll be lost in the sea of 'targets' anyway. Nobody wants to know your address, you have nothing anybody wants!
    And before you respond with "Burglars!", they're not going to track your phone, they'll go up to your house and look at it to see if you're home, and then rob you anyway.

  • Re:Anonymous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @12:28PM (#35991162) Homepage Journal

    Depends on where you live. I have at least a dozen APs in my list here at home, at least two of them I know to be in the same building, just on different floors. Good luck pinpointing where exactly I live, even if you could fetch out my data set.

    If you're interested in me, there are a lot of easier ways to get my address.

    Really, I dig privacy and all that, but people do get freaked out too easily. Sure I have something to hide, everyone does. But the something is usually what I do, and not where I do it.

    And quite frankly, if you're upset about this data collection (on the device!), but you check in with FourSquare whenever you are anywhere at all, you're messed up.

    Reading someone's Twitter or Facebook postings would probably reveal more about them then checking out their location data. For the average american, I guess a visit to the local whorehouse is the worst that location data would reveal. Sure you don't want that to be public, but the end of the world it is not. Well, maybe the end of your marriage. Then again, if you do stuff that you positively don't want to be discovered, one of the things you do is turn off your mobile phone. That's not news. A guy working closely with the german equivalent of the secret service said 10 years ago that he turns off his mobile phone and takes out the battery routinely whenever he doesn't use it.

    Nothing here is new, except for the specifics of the individual event.

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @12:54PM (#35991338) Homepage Journal

    Because they make the best stuff, and their biggest competitor is an advertising agency who REALLY DO track your data and sell it.

    Apple do the exact same thing. Unless they've changed their Privacy Policy [apple.com] recently. Hold on, I'll check.

    Nope. No change since June 2010, according to the page.

    We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising.

    Keep in mind that's under the section describing the "anonymous" user info they collect. Well, they call it "non-personal information" and explain that it can't be used to identify you, specifically.

    Just the device you use, through that "unique device identifier" they collect.

    Also notice that they don't "use" that information, they "collect" it. Meaning that it's saved.

    Or, in other words: they track you, for advertising purposes.

  • by joh (27088) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @01:12PM (#35991490)

    Or, in other words: they track you, for advertising purposes.

    iAd uses random IDs that are generated twice a day on the iPhone. Impossible to track you with this.

    But I would surely like to have that cleared up. Especially what the anonymous collecting of location data actually means in detail.

    Personally I think that the part of the privacy policy you quoted is just a general list of things that Apple may collect for many different things (the Unique Device ID will be needed at least for DRM purposes with the iTunes store, for example) and that this does not mean that anonymous location data is tagged with the Unique Device ID. I just can't see Apple going to such lengths to ensure anonymity with iAd and then needlessly collect location data in a less anonymous way.

    Still, I'm pretty sure we will here more of this in the coming months, not only from Apple.

    By the way, here's the privacy policy for AdMob Mobile Services [admob.com] (Google), which in no uncertain terms says what AdMob collects here:

    "AdMob will automatically collect and receive information about those visitors such as, but not limited to, browser identifiers, session information, browser cookies, device type, carrier provider, IP addresses, unique device ID, carrier user ID, geo-location information, sites visited and clicks on advertisements we display."

  • Re:Anonymous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @01:51PM (#35991780)

    The data is scrubbed of personally identifiable data, and you'll be lost in the sea of 'targets' anyway. Nobody wants to know your address, you have nothing anybody wants!

    Apple collected the information on their iDevice, and Apple is evil - so everyone rose up in hysteria when the news about this file came out.

    Now this group asks for the information and reassures us it will be anonymized, and people say "No Worries! Great! Fine! Wonderful!" because it's not Apple, and the word "Open" was used - so we can blindly trust them both to be honest and know what they're doing with regard to secure data handling.

    Folks, I would like to invite you all to participate in a new study - FreeOpenCreditCardDataStudy. I am doing important research on the recurrence of certain patterns of digits in credit cards that seems to be matched to certain names. Your numbers will be randomized, so no one willl be able to use your data. I need the numbers intact, though, so I can look for these patterns. Oh, and I'm also asking you to enter the security codes and expiration dates, because while I'm not currently aware of any patterns it may be there.

    Free! Open! FreeOpenCreditCardDataStudy!

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