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  • US Lawmakers Take Aim at Apple over iPhone Location Tracking


    If you've been hanging around MMi the last few days, you're probably familiar with the rampant talk surrounding the recently publicized discovery that Apple keeps close, secretive tabs on where you and your iPhone go. As my colleague Phillip Swanson dished yesterday, security researchers have discovered the iPhone maintains a location log that includes longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates as well as a timestamp. Each time the iPhone is synced to the computer a new log file is created.

    Well, now US lawmakers have gotten wind of this discovery. Fresh from their skirmish with Apple over in-app purchases and the phenomenon of children unwittingly purchasing a gazilion-dollars worth of stuff via mommy and daddy's iPhone, several high-profile US senators are calling attention to Apple's tracking bonanza (even though we agree to be tracked in the fine print of Apple's "terms and conditions" document).

    On Thursday, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) went public with their effort to force Apple to address this report immediately. Franken, in particular, drafted a letter to Mr. Steve Jobs himself. "There are numerous ways in which this information could be abused by criminals and bad actors," Franken stated in the letter. "Furthermore, there is no indication that this file is any different for underage iPhone or iPad users, meaning that the millions of children and teenagers who use iPhone or iPad devices also risk having their location collected and compromised."

    Franken also dashed-off a litany of questions pushing Apple to answer why its collects the data in the first place and how it's ultimately used. Franken is even wondering if other Apple devices - like laptops - similarly acquire and report user location and usage information. It's a good question. And soon enough, Apple may respond with the answers we're all waiting for.

    Source: C-Span, The Hill
    This article was originally published in forum thread: US Lawmakers Take Aim at Apple over iPhone Location Tracking started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 73 Comments
    1. jcasas392's Avatar
      jcasas392 -
      Burn apple, burn.
    1. iliveudie's Avatar
      iliveudie -
      Take that Apple. Take that!!!
    1. hancoma's Avatar
      hancoma -
      Minority report, 1984, Orwell, Skynet, etc...you're already in the machine, there is no escape...
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      hahaha I love this!!!
      "Terms and Conditions" do not get Apple off the hook, I am sure a suit is in the works against Apple for this.
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      Ha it would be great if Apple got in trouble for this, but the thing is that Apple will win this suit simply because it's in their TOS that we all agree to.
    1. trigun989's Avatar
      trigun989 -
      in the next 20 years apple will be as powerfull as skynet
    1. Paco's Avatar
      Paco -
      wow
    1. iliveudie's Avatar
      iliveudie -
      Quote Originally Posted by coolguy742 View Post
      Ha it would be great if Apple got in trouble for this, but the thing is that Apple will win this suit simply because it's in their TOS that we all agree to.
      Like it's been said before...TOS doesn't get them off the hook...if they hid "by clicking accept you owe Apple your kids" within their TOS, it is not what you would call 'lawful'.
    1. grimball's Avatar
      grimball -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      hahaha I love this!!!
      "Terms and Conditions" do not get Apple off the hook, I am sure a suit is in the works against Apple for this.
      I want my piece of the (Apple)pie!
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Here's the quote from The Wall Street Journal:

      Apple gathers the data to help build a "database with known location information," the letter says. "This information is batched and then encrypted and transmitted to Apple over a Wi-Fi Internet connection every twelve hours (or later if the device does not have Wi-Fi Internet access at that time)," the company wrote in the July letter to Congress.

      All those bad boys out there that have been "stealing" from AT&T by tethering to their bluetooth headsets without a paid tethering plan - they know where you are and what color underwear you were wearing at the time.
    1. iliveudie's Avatar
      iliveudie -
      Quote Originally Posted by csglinux View Post
      Here's the quote from The Wall Street Journal:

      Apple gathers the data to help build a "database with known location information," the letter says. "This information is batched and then encrypted and transmitted to Apple over a Wi-Fi Internet connection every twelve hours (or later if the device does not have Wi-Fi Internet access at that time)," the company wrote in the July letter to Congress.

      All those bad boys out there that have been "stealing" from AT&T by tethering to their bluetooth headsets without a paid tethering plan - they know where you are and what color underwear you were wearing at the time.
      Wow!!! This is really creepy...
    1. robbpell's Avatar
      robbpell -
      Apple could always argue there is a legal way to disable it!
      'untrackerd' Cydia Tweak stops iOS Location Data Storing
    1. Amraam's Avatar
      Amraam -
      This is a "toffee Apple" moment.

      ...because they're in a sticky situation...

      haha
    1. Browning151's Avatar
      Browning151 -
      Quote Originally Posted by robbpell View Post
      Apple could always argue there is a legal way to disable it!
      'untrackerd' Cydia Tweak stops iOS Location Data Storing
      lol, Apple argue in favor of using a jailbreak app to circumvent something they've built into iOS? No way.
    1. TheDirtyDiddler's Avatar
      TheDirtyDiddler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Amraam View Post
      This is a "toffee Apple" moment.

      ...because they're in a sticky situation...

      haha
      More like a rotten Apple. Meeeehhhhhhh
    1. robbpell's Avatar
      robbpell -
      Quote Originally Posted by Browning151 View Post
      lol, Apple argue in favor of using a jailbreak app to circumvent something they've built into iOS? No way.
      oo the irony lol
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Lol, I love how everyone is against Apple on this. I understand the issue, but had nothing ever been found and brought up with this we'd continue living life as normal. If something actually does happen from these logs then there is a problem, but for now Apple has it in their Terms and Conditions, and nothing bad has happened because of it. Everyone's so quick to bounce on Apple when they think they've done something wrong....lame.
    1. MetallicaFan1991's Avatar
      MetallicaFan1991 -
      Does anyone really care if Apple keep track of your iPhone locations?

      It could be useful but its Apple, not some unknown company.
    1. chakraj's Avatar
      chakraj -
      Yes, I do not want my phone tracking my every move. I have rights as a human being and I do not agree to allow my rights to be given away.

      Our ancestors fought so we could be free, and we now just dont care anymore,we just give it away a little at a time. Then when its gone we will all say, where did our freedom go.


      PS. Where did our freedom go?
    1. Browning151's Avatar
      Browning151 -
      Quote Originally Posted by chakraj View Post
      Yes, I do not want my phone tracking my every move. I have rights as a human being and I do not agree to allow my rights to be given away.

      Our ancestors fought so we could be free, and we now just dont care anymore,we just give it away a little at a time. Then when its gone we will all say, where did our freedom go.


      PS. Where did our freedom go?
      I concur.