Greg's bite: Apple explains the tracking situation on iPhone and iPad
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Greg's bite: Apple explains the tracking situation on iPhone and iPad

By Greg Mills

Sort of an admission and a defense rolled up into one page... 

1. Apple denies ever tracking iPhone or iPads but the explanation doesn't mention the detailed location files with timestamps reported by
some researchers.  Apple claims the file amounts to sort of a map of cell towers and WiFi sources.  More information on the details of the Location logs needs to be given.

2. Users are confused?  Thanks a lot Apple, I will try not to hold my iPhone or iPad wrong.  

3. This answer does not explain GPS coordinates with time stamps found by some researchers.

4. Reducing both the size of the location cache and reducing the length of time it is held are good moves that fulfill privacy demands of uses.

5. The issue isn't as much Apple knowing who the data came from as someone accessing your personal location data without your consent and knowing who's device they are downloading the location information from.

6. Apple claims holding a years data is a bug?  Hard to believe that.

7. Turning off Location Service didn't stop tracking is also a bug?  At least they admit it and plan to fix that issue.

8. Apple admits planning location based services to be offered in the future...  read that location based advertising.

9. Apple admits advertising is part of the reason for the location files as I suspected.

10. Apple now claims to be the champion of data privacy...  we will see

Software updates promised:
Apple intends to reduce the maximum time location is stored to 7 days, the location cache will be limited in size and turning off location services will dump the location cache.  The location files on iPhone and iPad will be encrypted automatically once the iOS update is loaded.

In substance, this explanation and set of promises satisfies my concerns. I would like further explanation of the details of what was kept on the location cache up to the current date. I would also like to see Apple explain in detail exactly what personal information is stored on iOS devices and backed up on the syncing computer.

You can see the explanation from Apple, without any editing or comments at http://www.macnews.com/2011/04/27/apple-releases-qa-location-data .

(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at gregmills@mac.com )

 
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