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Apple: "We must Have Comprehensive Location Data" 556

An anonymous reader writes "Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, and iPad models are keeping track of consumers whereabouts. Mac computers running Snow Leopard and even Windows computers running Safari 5 are being watched. But the question is why? 'To provide the high quality products and services that its customers demand, Apple must have access to the comprehensive location-based information,' Apple says."
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Apple: "We must Have Comprehensive Location Data"

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  • rtfa (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2011 @11:50AM (#35921350)

    Old quote bolted onto new news.

    "In June 2010, Congressmen Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Texas wrote a letter to Apple... ...In response the company's general counsel Bruce Sewall wrote a letter... ..."To provide the high quality products and services that its customers demand, Apple must have access to the comprehensive location-based information," Sewall told Congress in the letter."

  • Old news. (Score:5, Informative)

    by romanval ( 556418 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @11:51AM (#35921358)
    This article is referencing a reply Apple wrote on June 2010.
  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @12:49PM (#35921862) Journal
    Using apps like Little Snitch, it's trivial to block the server requests (which happen about once a day) that the OS is making when it tries to 'phone home'.

    They actually come in groups of three, including, or something of that ilk.

    This is obviously much more of an issue on any iOS device, where the user has little to no control of what's taking place behind the fancy window dressing, and for which no such firewall is made available for purchase through Apple's app store that I know of.

    Anyway, for a computer that's staying in one place, a case could be made for the lack of need to know it is staying there all the time. Butt off my activities unless you give me the opt-in choice to be the one that decides whether to provide your company with this information or not. In fact, it could be argued that for home computers the only use for this sort of stuff is targeted advertising somewhere down the road, once users have accepted the idea that being tracked is normal.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday April 24, 2011 @12:49PM (#35921864)
    "By using any location-based services on your iPhone, you agree and consent to Apple's and its partners' and licensees' transmission, collection, maintenance, processing and use of your location data to provide such products and services," Sewall's letter reads, citing Apple's End User Agreement. News? Not really. Unless you totally ignore the EULA. None the less, it is there.
  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @12:53PM (#35921886)

    At least Apple buries the fact somewhere in some deep EULA (I guess). Google didn't ask anyone when it collected WIFI data, nor does it ask for permission when people use google's search engine (or 90% of the other sites on internet that have google analytics)

    Well Hello there, Mr Double Standards Guy, Nice for you to drop by.....

    Apple buries the fact >> Google Didn't ask permission? How are those even CLOSE to the same thing?

    Let me fix it for you:
    Apple Didn't Ask Permission. Google tells you right up Front.

    Go to Right there, mid screen is a Privacy link [].
    Click it and read. I'm astounded you've never seen this page before. Flabbergasted actually.

    And were you TOTALLY UNAWARE that Google gives you all the tools you need to [] CONTROL [] what info they keep about you? I'm astounded.

    And why is it suddenly about Google? Apple is the one leaving years worth of tracking data on the phones
    and transmitting it secretly to headquarters with no way for you to opt out.

  • Re:Still no answer. (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2011 @01:13PM (#35922032)

    Because if Apple doesn't see and control everything their customers do, Jobs' weenie will never rise again!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 24, 2011 @01:16PM (#35922060)

    Riiiiight, because governments are rushing to validate the statements of irrelevant slashbots (myself very much included) by disappearing them?

    Maybe not the disappearing part but other than that it's spot on. Remember the case in which the FBI put a GPS logger on a students car because of some harmless commet on a blog? Yes, that is actually what "they" do.

    Also, remember the case of the hacked playstation in which Sony subpoenaed the identities of all commenters for a video? It's not only governments that go after mere commenters.

    Paranoid tinfoil hat wearers can't come up with conspiracies fast enough to catch up with reality.

  • by dragonhunter21 ( 1815102 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @01:53PM (#35922320) Journal

    Google has their privacy statement mid-page on the front page of their site.

    Apple has it buried inside their EULA.

    Stickin' with Google for this one.

    (also, that streetview thing was an accident- Google didn't use any of the information. Heck, Google was the one that brought that problem to light- if they hadn't, we probably wouldn't have a clue.)

  • by RoFLKOPTr ( 1294290 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @02:20PM (#35922524)

    Mistake != Malice.

    Err, how do you accidentally collect WiFi packets on platform whose ostensible purpose is to take photographs, and transmit them back via some other means (3g most likely) entirely?

    They were mapping out WiFi network locations to assist with location services. A terrestrial GPS-like system, if you will. The Street View team basically included an old experimental bit of code in their WiFi system which, unbeknownst to them, actually recorded from all categories of publicly-broadcast WiFi data. They only intended to record SSIDs and MAC addresses of access points. They had no payload data from encrypted WiFi networks (if you have a password on your network, it is encrypted) and they had absolutely no data at all from encrypted networks not broadcasting an SSID. They wanted to delete the data they recorded as soon as it was discovered, but that data was at that point recognized as evidence so deleting it would be very illegal. They were basically forced to hold onto it until authorization from authorities allowed them to rid themselves of it.

    So now you understand the purpose of what they were doing and that they had made a mistake. Do you not agree that Mistake != Malice?

  • by Minupla ( 62455 ) <minupla&gmail,com> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @02:35PM (#35922658) Homepage Journal

    I'm not telling you anything, but the law tells companies: ( []) which requires commercial entities to follow certain best practices in collecting information that may contain Personally Identifiable Information (including consent for the specific uses to which it is going to be put, retention, encryption, etc)

    If you're doing business in Canada it is your responsibility to know this law and Google violated it. Its not about how easy it is to collect the information, it is about ensuring you have the legal authorization to do so. Just because you CAN do something does not make it legal to do so.



  • by macslas'hole ( 1173441 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @02:41PM (#35922698)
    I've looked at the table from my iphone. Its primary key is the tuple {MCC, MNC, LAC, CI}, which, if you google for you will find, is the "Cell Global Identity (CGI) identifier". The table has one entry per CGI. Each record has a timestamp, coordinates, and error estimates. The timestamp is not the time at which the cell was last encountered. The table has large chunks (weeks) of time missing. This is especially true when I am not traveling. There are many records from around my home and work, but most do not have recent timestamps. Apparently, new records are added as the phone encounters new cells. This does not appear to be a continuous process as there are gaps in space between clusters in cell-rich areas I have travelled through. Also, there are records from places over 100 km from where I've been.
    From this data, you can get a rough estimate of when and where I have been. But the more often I visit an area and/or the longer I am there, the less precise in time the estimate becomes. Combine this with data points that can be 100 km off, and the position becomes untenable that this is a log of your whereabouts.
    Apparently, Android logs the last 50 cells encountered *AND* sends this log to Google.
  • by HeavyDevelopment ( 1117531 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @02:44PM (#35922744)
    I assume that you have never owned an iPhone. Turning off location services is pretty simple actually: 1. Navigate to the iPhone's home screen. 2. Locate and open the "Settings" app, the icon that looks like a gray set of gears. 3. Select the "Location Services" menu item, which is usually the fifth item from the top. 4. Turn off all iPhone location services by changing the "On/Off" switch next to "Location Services" to "Off." You can also fine grain which apps are allowed access to that info and which ones aren't. If someone hasn't owned an iPhone you wouldn't know the process of what permission is asked and when. By default location services is turned off and you are prompted to sign off that you understand what you are doing when you turn them on. If you choose to ignore what that means or bypass it, that's your fault. I'm not an Apple apologist, but don't state something as fact when it isn't.
  • by macslas'hole ( 1173441 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @02:48PM (#35922770)

    get it running on the collection server

    There does not appear to be one.

    put some malicious code into these logs

    How does that work, Macgyver?

    This is not even wrong.

  • by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @04:39PM (#35923616)
    You missed the part where he chased her and her partner down after the show, cornered them, and at one point smashed her glasses into pieces. It wasn't a joke, because he stalked her and continued to call her a raging dyke cunt and threaten her with death for her dykish ways, and attacked her. See, he was making dyke jokes and she booed him. His fine was not for the jokes but for the hour or more of harassment because she didn't like them. He wasn't even on fucking stage, he attacked her out of hate and prejudice. And if you think harassing people and smashing their property into pieces is free speech, you should post your address so people can harass you and smash up your car. Free speech, by not letting us know this vital information, you are denying our fundamental right to attack you!
  • FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:17PM (#35925500) Homepage

    All location tracking in Android is totally optional, in fact you are explicitly asked if you want to enable it the first time you turn on your phone, there is no way to even skip the question.

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