Apple Slammed Over iPhone, iPad Location Tracking

Posted on April 21, 2011


Apple Slammed Over iPhone, iPad Location Tracking – News Story – KTVU San Francisco.

But the worry prompted by a report from researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden at a technology conference in Santa Clara, Calif., raises questions about how much privacy you implicitly surrender by carrying around a smartphone and the responsibility of the smartphone makers to protect sensitive data that flows through their devices.

I’m pretty sure that there are ways to not having to surrender any privacy when carrying an iPhone (or any smartphone)… the tactic will be telling the public there’s no way around it.  It all depends on who is invested in having this information, what the purpose is, etc.  and how loud the people can get. Unless we truly don’t care that privacy (and then rights) is out the window when participating in a social norm.  What if you have to have a smartphone for work? What are your rights then?

Much of the concern about the iPhone and iPad tracking stems from the fact the computers are logging users’ physical coordinates without users knowing it — and that that information is then stored in an unencrypted form that would be easy for a hacker or a suspicious spouse or a law enforcement officer to find without a warrant.

When I do trainings on technology or stalking, we always bring this up.  Cell phone gps logging is used frequently as a tactic of control. Also, I find this just creepy: 

Location data is some of the most valuable information a mobile phone can provide, since it can tell advertisers not only where someone’s been, but also where they might be going — and what they might be inclined to buy when they get there.

So we’re giving up our right to privacy so people can market to us more effectively… forgive me for not seeing the many many ways in which this could be used against people who are of a more subversive mindset. In general, I don’t think companies should have this advantage of knowing where i’ve been or what i look at on amazon or what I’ve purchased.  I’m 100% against that.  And if that means that some super neat iPhone or Android app won’t work, then so be it.  I’m sure many people wouldn’t agree. Unless it’s saving the children…

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said it raises “serious privacy concerns,” especially for children using the devices, since “anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of a user’s home, the businesses he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attend, and the trips he has taken — over the past months or even a year.”

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., questioned whether the practice may be illegal under a federal law governing the use of location information for commercial purposes, if consumers weren’t properly informed.

let’s be real, consumers are rarely properly informed about anything.