Apple denies tracking iPhone and iPad users

Apr 28th, 2011 by dvdxplayer 1,743 views |Comments Off

Breaking nearly a week of silence to respond to a mounting outcry, apple Inc. denied that it was tracking iphone and ipad users but said that it experienced discovered bugs that resulted in too significantly area data being kept about the devices.
The corporation said the fact that controversy resulted in aspect due to the actuality that users had become “confused” by the specialized complexity of the issue, and the fact that devices store geographical files in order to give you location-based services, such as map directions.
The locations stored by the iPhone and iPad are not a log of users’ whereabouts, the company said Wednesday, but a database of nearby cellular towers and Wi-Fi access points that Apple already knows about. The devices can use that location data to, for example, calculate driving directions and offer coupons to local stores.

To tamp down the rising concerns, Apple even enlisted Steve Jobs, the company’s chief executive who is currently on medical leave, to answer questions about the data collection. Jobs told the Wall Street Journal that the company was not tracking anyone and that an upcoming software update would reduce the amount of location data on the devices to about seven days’ worth from as much as a year.

“Providing phone users with fast and accurate location info even while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical difficulties that are very hard to communicate inside a sound bite,” the company said inside a statement. “Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these difficulties to date.”

Apple’s reaction arrived amid growing concern from the quantity of U.S. and overseas federal government officials together with privacy advocates concerning the nature of this location data file. Rep . chic ed hardy Markey (D-Mass), who had asked the company to explain the location data final week, said inside a declaration Wednesday that he was pleased apple was addressing the issue but signaled that he had queries about no issue if the company used the data to sell marketing to users.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who had also sent a letter to apple concerning the location tracking, has termed for apple and google Inc. to attend a Senate subcommittee hearing on phone privacy to be held may 10. jobs said apple would be existing for the hearing.

Google has also been pressed to explain how and why its Android-based smartphones collect, retailer and transmit user location data.

Kevin Bankston, a senior legal professional in the digital Frontier Foundation, an web based civil liberties group, praised apple for taking methods to diminish the amount of individual data at the phone but said customer technology firms should be more upfront with their users concerning the data they collect.

“We should not have to be inside a constant battle with firms in which the community is continually uncovering new privacy problems that the firms were opaque about before,” Bankston said.

Apple emphasized that the data stored at the phone are not a user’s specific real-time location, but an amalgam of Wi-Fi obtain points and mobile tower locations “which can be more than 100 miles away in the iPhone.”

The company, however, did not highlight that many Wi-Fi access points can be much closer, including in specific rooms in users’ homes and offices. And as cellular networks have become larger and more sophisticated, companies have built many more towers so that each one can cover a smaller area more effectively.

Experts have said that Wi-Fi and cell-tower location data may soon be as specific as the highly precise GPS satellite data.

Apple said it would fix two issues with the way the data were stored, each of which it called a “bug.” Those fixes would come in the next few weeks, the company said, and would include shortening the list of stored locations and enabling users to prevent the devices from keeping them in the first place.

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