Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 27th Apr 2011 21:40 UTC
Apple Apple has responded to the location data thing, and as it turns out, most of us moderate folk were completely right. Apple claims the data isn't sent to Apple, and that the storing of the information is a bug Apple will fix in the coming weeks. Still a very nasty and potentially dangerous bug, but not the massive privacy issue many made it out to be. Also, a new colour iPhone is out, which, if you were to believe the gadget and Apple sites, is yet another Apple revolution.
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Thom, I don't get how you arrive to the conclusion that it's not a massive privacy issue.

I'll agree that it is a privacy issue, but I don't think "massive" is justified. Of course I guess it depends on how paranoid you are...

The location database is at least present (synced) on all your iPhones and Macs that you synced with each other. If any of these gets stolen or intruded into, your geographic location history across all your iPhones is compromised.

But its not exactly your location history. As has been explained before (and now straight for Apple's mouth), it is a history of cell and wifi locations you have been in the broad vicinity of. Granted, this information can be used to determine that you were in a certain city or that you traveled along a general route on certain dates, but it cannot be used to reliably pin-point your location accurately. From what I have read, it can be used to "statistically" determine your home address for example - but it can easily be totally wrong if you work nights and spend more time at work than at home (for instance). Not making excuses for Apple or anything, just saying it is technically not logging your location.

That said, I still think it was a pretty severe privacy breach, but not because of what they were doing specifically, rather because there were doing it over such a long time period. It they limit the data to only the last few hours or something like that I don't see a problem with it (assuming they stop putting it in the damned backups and wipe it when the user turns off location services).

What if your spouse hired a private to spy on you? What if you get arrested in a country where the police may decide that it's entitled to look at your phone? Privacy is not just about data getting sent to Apple or to websites. There's a reason why some data is considered unsafe to store unencrypted. If Apple had a legitimate reason to store such data on your iPhone, the least they should have done was to encrypt it.

I agree. That claim in the article that is what they will be doing in the future. We'll see I guess.

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