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  • Apple Answers Geo-Data Questions


    In response to questions raised by two US House members, Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX), Apple general counsel and senior vice president of legal and government affairs Bruce Sewell has written a 13-page letter explaining how the company uses geographic data collected from its mobile and desktop devices. In the midst of all the corporate-speak and assurances there are a few interesting details about what information Apple obtains, and who they share it with.

    On June 24, the chairmen of the US House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), sent a letter to Steve Jobs asking about Apple's updated privacy policy that acknowledged for the first time that Apple is collecting, storing and sharing geo-data.“Given the limited ability of Apple users to opt out of the revised policy and still be able to take advantage of the features of their Apple products," the representatives wrote, "we are concerned about the impact the collection of such data could have on the privacy of Apple’s customers."

    In the response, Apple chief lawyer Sewell lets slip the fact that Apple had been sharing geo-data with both Google and Skyhook, who provided location services to pre-iPad versions of iPhone OS. In iOS 3.2 and newer versions, Apple is using its own geographic information servers to determine the location of Apple devices. Their database, which is supposedly stripped of all identifying information, includes geo-coords for cell towers, WiFi access points, and iDevice GPS chips. Sewell says the company doesn't collect SSIDs or any IDs from the GPS chips, which are batched, encrypted and transmitted to the main database in a block once every 12 hours. iPhones and iPads generate a random ID every 24 hours, which reportedly cannot be used to identify a specific device.

    Sewell also says that the geo-coords collected from a mobile device with iAd location sharing enabled is converted immediately into a five-digit US ZIP Code, and the latitude and longitude information is deleted, leaving only the ZIP. He claims that the company will store that data for six months just so that users won't have to see from seeing duplicate ads. After that, the data is "aggregated" into regional data, with even specific ZIP codes removed.

    In a Knowledge Base article, Apple explains that users can opt-out of iAd's location and interest-based ad serving by going to http://oo.apple.com/ and waiting for the "You have successfully opted out" message. They warn, however, that ads may then "may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests." Oh noes.

    Source: Cult of Mac
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Answers Geo-Data Questions started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Blade600rr06's Avatar
      Blade600rr06 -
      Ugh blah! Lol
    1. YoungDKP's Avatar
      YoungDKP -
      Cool
    1. Infamous_clown's Avatar
      Infamous_clown -
      Opting out sounds good...but there's still a trick to the geo location I believe :P
    1. wolverinemarky's Avatar
      wolverinemarky -
      lol u cant really opt out your gonna get ads anyway, opting out just wont make the ads specific to your interests and your search words
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Dear White House,

      We will be taking over the world beginning on August 1 2010. All military devices And electronics will run on Apple iOS 10.0. Any attempt to resist will result in annihilation.

      Sincerely,

      --Apple

      P.S. - We have sent your entire staff a complimentary iPhone 4 in exchange for your services rendered. We'll take it from here. Good day.

      :-P
    1. veliksam's Avatar
      veliksam -
      Quote Originally Posted by RICO_ View Post
      Dear White House,

      We will be taking over the world beginning on August 1 2010. All military devices And electronics will run on Apple iOS 10.0. Any attempt to resist will result in
      --Apple

      P.S. - We have sent your entire staff a complimentary iPhone 4 in exchange for your services
      rendered. We'll take it from
      here. Good day.:-P
      Does this not remind you of Cyberdine and SkyNet? It does to me! LoL
    1. politicalslug's Avatar
      politicalslug -
      Who cares? This seems rather safe to me. And frankly, if I have no choice about receiving ads, which I don't, I'd rather they be relevant to my interests. Stop complaining and move along.
    1. smittyjf's Avatar
      smittyjf -
      Quote Originally Posted by RICO_ View Post
      Dear White House,

      We will be taking over the world beginning on August 1 2010. All military devices And electronics will run on Apple iOS 10.0. Any attempt to resist will result in annihilation.

      Sincerely,

      --Apple

      P.S. - We have sent your entire staff a complimentary iPhone 4 in exchange for your services rendered. We'll take it from here. Good day.

      :-P
      Now I needed that laugh today
      Thanks RICO
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      Ads not based on my interest? God I don't think any phone ads are based on my interest. I think what they really mean is the pointless ads won't be based on services in your general geographical location. Pffff. %^!
    1. macsoldier's Avatar
      macsoldier -
      Quote Originally Posted by rico_ View Post
      dear white house,

      we will be taking over the world beginning on august 1 2010. All military devices and electronics will run on apple ios 10.0. Any attempt to resist will result in annihilation.

      Sincerely,

      --apple

      p.s. - we have sent your entire staff a complimentary iphone 4 in exchange for your services rendered. We'll take it from here. Good day.



      :-p
      well put id love to have apple running everything lol
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Quote Originally Posted by macsoldier View Post
      well put id love to have apple running everything lol
      Maybe they already are and we just don't know it.

      :-/

      I saw a buddy of mine's brand new MacBook Pro and all of a sudden I wanted one to. F**kin Apple has infected me with their brain-washing nanobots.
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      I'm opt out using the oo.apple.com. Not sure if it work.
    1. bsltiger's Avatar
      bsltiger -
      oo.apple.com tells me I'm not running iOS4.

      Opting out isn't that easy.
    1. volcomc's Avatar
      volcomc -
      Successfully opted out. It is very easy
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Quote Originally Posted by bsltiger View Post
      oo.apple.com tells me I'm not running iOS4.

      Opting out isn't that easy.
      It is easy. You just have to go to that site from your iDevice, not your PC/Mac
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      stalker much?
    1. JazJon's Avatar
      JazJon -
      Quote Originally Posted by vantheman169 View Post
      There's an app to cure Aids? That's great news!
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Looks like the politicians who have iPhones are skurred... So now when they cheat lie and steel they can be traced to whose house they were at when they were committing adultery. LMAO.
    1. Effenpig!'s Avatar
      Effenpig! -
      Quote Originally Posted by wolverinemarky; View Post
      lol u cant really opt out your gonna get ads anyway, opting out just wont make the ads specific to your interests and your search words
      Umm, yeah, that's what the OP said!!!