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iPhone Tracking Ruckus Ongoing

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the are-we-there-yet dept.

Iphone 353

Trailrunner7 writes "A pair of Apple customers has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that Apple is invading their privacy by collecting location data about iPhone and iPad users without their knowledge." and theodp noted that the iPhone tracking 'Bug' is actually patent pending... which makes it harder to buy the mistake argument. As if that's not enough fun, South Korea, Italy, Germany and other countries are all looking into it.

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feature? (2, Funny)

galaad2 (847861) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945140)

it's not a bug, it's a feature!

Re:feature? (3)

afex (693734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945592)

all jokes aside, i actually thought this was really cool when i found out....the map of my parsed backup data (made with the windows version called iOStracker or whatever) was really interesting and i had a great time playing around with the data.

call my a cynic, but i always sort of assumed this was going on.
heck, i assumed they logged it on the *CELL TOWER* side of things, not on the phone itself, which is arguably better because at least you can destroy it/prevent it this way. maybe I should be happy?

Re:feature? (3, Informative)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945878)

Cell towers always logged which cell you were connected to.

What cell towers didn't do was log on the device side, a detailed record of your lat/long movements, which can then be tied to businesses, paths of travel, personal interests, spending patterns, and your daily comings and goings.

These things were also not done on a handset containing a myriad of other personal data it could be linked to, and not on handsets that have other applications which are granted access to this data (which the user isn't aware exists).

They also didn't back this data up to PCs, most of which are windows PCs, which are insecure by definition.

In short, they had access to exactly one piece of data, what cell tower you were connected to at a given point in time. This is a fantastically intricate web of personal information.

Re:feature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945798)

I'd be interested in how many other vendors have implemented such said "features".

dumb summary again (4, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945194)

The "mistake argument" isn't claiming that the whole location history implementation is a mistake, it's claiming that it's intended to be a cache, not a permanent archive. Nothing in the patent has anything to do with this.

Re:dumb summary again (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945314)

Please explain how the following claim would have any utility at all if it is supposed to be just a cache:

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising: querying the database for at least a portion of the location history data; retrieving network information from the database that is responsive to the query; translating the network information into position coordinates; displaying a map view; and displaying markers on the map view as a timeline according to the position coordinates, the markers indicating the location history of the location aware device for the time span. .

Re:dumb summary again (1, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945374)

That's purely semantics. It is a cache of visited locations stored in a database, that database can be queried in the way the patent describes.

Re:dumb summary again (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945448)

But how is there any utility with providing that for a cache that might have been deleted 2 minutes ago?

Re:dumb summary again (2)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945498)

Are you being serious right now? A cache is there so you don't have to go through a relatively expensive process to get some data. It is not there for you to save data that would otherwise not exist and patent it for use in generating a timeline of where you've been on a map. Sure, you can do that with a cache, but you wouldn't ordinarily specify that in the patent. Tracking, maybe not. Cache, certainly not. Its the difference between cached pages and your browser history.

Re:dumb summary again (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945422)

Airplanes have been doing for a long time what this invention claims:

"1. A computer-implemented method performed by a location aware device, the method comprising: configuring a processor of the location aware device to collect network information broadcast from a number of network transmitters over a time span; and storing the network information and corresponding timestamps in a database as location history data. "

Re:dumb summary again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945794)

As long as airplanes do not compete with Apple, they can continue doing it without fear of being sued.

RDS astroturf for the First Post Win? (4, Insightful)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945654)

Dude, the fact that apple doesn't collect that information by default at the present time doesn't help _you_ or any other member of the Reality Distortion Field...

(1) Any app at any time including IOS updates has that information at its disposal, so iFarmville now knows where you spend most of your time and when you are not home. So maybe does any active advertisement ware and those free-but-buy-stuff games your kid is playing.

(2) Your phone is PRE-tapped as far as law enforcement is concerned. If I put a GPS anklet on you now "just in case do do something later" would you be fine with that? If I say it also "does iTunes" does it make it retroactively okay?

(3) I can "give you" an app and that app can now tell me how much time you spend shopping and where you shop down to the department of the store (couple meters).

(4) God save you if you get divorced or become subject to any legal fishing exiditions.

Suppose some legal person gets a hard on for the legal pursuit of you. I decide you are a child predator because that helps me get reelected. I take your phone log, makes excerpts of it, and "notice" in front of the Grand Jury and the actual Jury that you spend an awful lot of time near a preschool. Now _you_ never noticed that your coffee stand of choice is right next to some kinder-care place in the same strip mall, or if you did, you didn't care at all. But _there_ _you_ _are_ spending every morning watching the kiddies come and go "according to your phone" and the way someone has chosen to take data and "reimagine" your intent.

Less Obviously: If I took the iPhone you have in your hot little hands, and computed all the time-distance values "near" roads, how often would you "be speeding"... lets just use that to set your car and health insurance rates shall we? Do you have an app from your insurance company on your phone right now? Will you never have such an app? Are you _sure_?

The question isn't who is getting the data by default, its a question of where the data _might_ go and what it says about your past to some creative mind somewhere.

Don't paint me as "all hysterical" though. I have latatude on my Android devices. I know about the _actual_ cache in Android as opposed to the full journal in iPhones. Every day I walk into a number of places where cell phones are forbidden for security reasons. I have been fully briefed about the background cost in lost privacy to having a hot phone in my hands for more than ten years.

IOS _has_ stepped over a very bright line, but we are boiling frogs here, and the Reality Distortion Field is just letting the iFrogs cook faster.

Re:dumb summary again (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945656)

Yes, this whole situation is blown way out of proportion. This is just another case of the general public realizing that if you have a network connected device you can be tracked. I mean seriously, is it that ridiculous of a concept that a Mobile network provider tracks it's nodes? Seriously? You want to be anonymous on the network? Ok you can switch your own damn towers, manager your own private traffic and route it properly over your own routers spread through the world...

Re:dumb summary again (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945812)

This is precisely the problem with this sort of technology. Even if the consumer agrees to tracking they don't really know what is happening. Frankly, it's not possible for them to agree at all. How can someone say that they don't agree, to the EULA, after paying upwards of $500 (or more) for the device. This puts you in a position of having to agree to a EULA (that you didn't have a stake in creating) with contractually obligating clauses that you don't understand and that you don't know precisely what they are doing, and what they are doing the information?

Even Steve Jobs is rewriting red and blue. Morpheus says to Neo that he has the choice: the red pill will send you back and the blue pill forward. Neo chooses the red pill accepting that he'll just forget everything and go back to his comfort zone. So, Morpheus hands him the blue pill. Neo then exclaims that it's the red pill he wants, and Morpheus redefines red as blue and forces blue on Neo. This is about having the power to influence knowing you have the ability to control the outcome no matter what choice those you influence make.

Listen, if they are tracking they are tracking. It's precisely that. To the consumer they think that the tracking is just for that session and not long term with the belief that the information won't be passed on or used in any other way. Then they find out that in fact they are being tracked. The Jobsian reality distortion field then goes into full effect with Jobs exclaiming that it is the red pill even though it's blue.

Been said before, but (-1, Redundant)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945210)

What a long way Apple has come. [youtube.com]

I find it rather sad really...I used to be a Mac-guy (before Linux stole my heart), so I've a special place in my heart for 'em.

Re:Been said before, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945252)

by (1706743)?
Name GET fail.

Re:Been said before, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945332)

AHAHAHAHA

Re:Been said before, but (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945398)

>>>I've a special place in my heart for 'em.

Ditto. Apple lost my loyalty when they stopped using the superior Motorola 68000/powerpc and switched to Intel. That's almost as bad as if they decided to switch to Windows OS, or install MS-IE as their default browser.

Re:Been said before, but (1)

spheric_harlot (2004896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945650)

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but Apple switched over to the Dark Side when they ditched Motorola 680x0 and formed an alliance with the mortal enemy, IBM, to forge the PowerPC. THAT was earth-shattering. The switch to Intel has been nothing but positive for them - and us, as users. Also, Apple actually did pre-install MS-IE as their default browser for about five years, from 1998 up until Safari was released, whenever that was.

You lost my loyalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945686)

when you claimed the powerpc was superior.

Re:Been said before, but (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945832)

I bet your partner hears you murmuring 'Altivec' at night when you're asleep.

Patent Pending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945216)

Apple Patent Application #54955959938734

Mobile Phone - A device that makes and receives telephone calls. The device sends and receives data wirelessly, and is powered by an internal battery.

OMG big brother... (2, Insightful)

gbrandt (113294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945240)

Everybody take a deep breath. The log does not go to Apple, it stays on the phone. Apple is not tracking anybody, your phone is...but its your phone so where is the problem.

Worst case, maybe they should have encrypted the file.

Big Deal.

Re:OMG big brother... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945284)

Eat penises you massive retard.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945416)

Thank you for your thoughtful and erudite response.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945442)

Anytime.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945292)

I hear Apple has this app store thing, and batteries that are a pain to replace...

Long story short, to access your phone, all they have to do is wait.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945468)

I hear Apple has this app store thing, and batteries that are a pain to replace...

Long story short, to access your phone, all they have to do is wait.

Assuming, of course, you don't use one of the several third-party battery-replacement services.

Re:OMG big brother... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945298)

The problem comes when you have states like Michigan where the police are allegedly downloading information from a smart phone in a minute or two and then, conceivably, can use that location information against you any way they want. Big problem.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/michigan-police-being-questioned-for-extracting-smartphone-data/
 

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945510)

In Michigan, the governor can also waltz into your town and dissolve your elected government.
In Michigan, you can vote, but it doesn't matter.
In MIchigan, you can be taxed, but your representation will be chosen by the governor if you elect the wrong people.

Michigan is not a state of free people, it is hardly surprising that this is ongoing.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945512)

The problem comes when you have states like Michigan where the police are allegedly downloading information from a smart phone in a minute or two and then, conceivably, can use that location information against you any way they want. Big problem.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/michigan-police-being-questioned-for-extracting-smartphone-data/

Not that I am defending the privacy invasion by the police in ANY way; but is that location information fine-grained enough to say where, to a certainly, you went? I mean, unless you're talking about a rural area, where places are far enough apart to pinpoint, isn't it just guesswork to say "You visited thus and so" in a congested urban location?

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945594)

Based on the articles, it's pretty clear you were traveling along a highway. That's more than enough to say you were in that area.

There is some debate over how accurate it is, since it isn't 'true' GPS. The fewer the towers the less accurate it is apparently. But in congested cities? Might be able to pin you down to a block at a certain time. And that's *plenty* to hold you for further questioning if they want too.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945848)

Based on the articles, it's pretty clear you were traveling along a highway. That's more than enough to say you were in that area. There is some debate over how accurate it is, since it isn't 'true' GPS. The fewer the towers the less accurate it is apparently. But in congested cities? Might be able to pin you down to a block at a certain time. And that's *plenty* to hold you for further questioning if they want too.

It's pretty clear that it is simply a database that is used BY THE PHONE for two purposes (and ONLY two purposes) :

1. To help prevent DROPPED CALLS, by keeping a running database of nearby CELL TOWERS.

2. To provide COARSE-GRAINED "location" information for "Location Services".

BTW, in case you didn't know, every CELL CARRIER keeps this same information for EVERY cell phone, by LAW, in perpetuity. Sucks, I know (and agree); but no one forces you to use a cellphone.

Apple isn't using this information. The phone is.

Re:OMG big brother... (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945658)

No, it is not enough to track you with any real precision. I looked at my own data using the binary that was linked in the earlier article about this - There appears to be very little certainty, other than showing a "general region" of where you were. It's not a running tally of every point you've passed through in the past year. It *appears* to have an approximately ~75-100 mile radius of my actual location, and seems to be more properly a database of the locations of *cell phone towers my phone has connected to*. Even that's fuzzy, because there are points showing up which are absolutely *not* in any location I've visited in recent memory, and points which I haven't come within hundreds of miles of in years.

Certainly enough imprecision that using it as the sole evidence to convict or accuse me of a crime would be laughable.

Re:OMG big brother... (-1, Troll)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945916)

Certainly enough imprecision that using it as the sole evidence to convict or accuse me of a crime would be laughable.

But more than enough "precision" to generate buttloads of senseless Apple Hate.

Oh well; when you're the big kid on the block, I guess jealousy is inevitable.

And you notice the Slashdot (and other "media") articles that are falling all over themselves rushing correct all this MISinformation.

Oh, wait... That doesn't generate hits.

Re:OMG big brother... (2)

brooklynwry (1860438) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945622)

With all due respect, this is not a problem with the functionality of the device, rather a problem with the state's ability to peer into things and interpret them in ways it shouldn't. Apple concealing this database would make it slightly more difficult for police to deduce something about you, but it certainly doesn't stop them - the only thing that would stop the "problem" you're describing would be reform of pertinent laws.

For one thing, admissibility in court hasn't even begun to be established. This location information is loose at best, and flat-out-wrong in a lot of cases (apparently I've been to Jamaica a few times in recent years; I must have been under the influence at the time as I've no recollection).

To put it simply, it's reasonable to wish that Apple wouldn't leave personal or private information exposed. It's reasonable to expect that of yourself, as well - one shouldn't leave their phone about, it's full of *personal information*. So in order for any breach to occur, both Apple and end-user must fail at this "reasonable" responsibility.

Re:OMG big brother... (3, Interesting)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945690)

Still doesn't really matter, because the phone company has this information on you anyway, and the DOJ has been claiming they can access it without a warrant for years.

Personally I'm *much* more worried about the personal location history on ATT's servers that I *don't* get a notification if the police sniff, than anything that is sitting on my own device.

Re:OMG big brother... (4, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945310)

Hush now, don't ruin a good anti-Apple flamefest. You're not giving the haters a chance to proclaim that they've never used, never owned, never wished to own or even seen an Apple product in real life but they're still horribly outraged and this great assault on their human rights by the evil empire led by the great satan, Steve Jobs.

Yes, I'm exaggerating but I can't help but be slightly baffled by the hordes of people who seem to think that Apple is somehow more powerful in the world of computing than Microsoft or that they are "more evil" than MS has ever been. Not to mention the fact that about half of them swear they've never used a mac or iDevice in their lives yet they are experts on the subject...

Re:OMG big brother... (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945466)

Hush now, don't ruin a good anti-Apple flamefest. You're not giving the haters a chance to proclaim that they've never used, never owned, never wished to own or even seen an Apple product in real life but they're still horribly outraged and this great assault on their human rights by the evil empire led by the great satan, Steve Jobs.

Yes, I'm exaggerating but I can't help but be slightly baffled by the hordes of people who seem to think that Apple is somehow more powerful in the world of computing than Microsoft or that they are "more evil" than MS has ever been. Not to mention the fact that about half of them swear they've never used a mac or iDevice in their lives yet they are experts on the subject...

These are mundane issues concerning device design and business decisions. It is not some vast unknowable thing that can only be experienced. It can be researched and anyone willing to do that can acquaint themselves with the facts. If you think someone is misinformed tell him where he is factually incorrect.

I admit I may be misunderstanding you, but what you're doing there seems like dismissal. It's similar to the tactics of the worst "anti-Apple" types and therefore it won't reveal the error of their ways. Right now, you say they probably don't own Apple devices. You say that like the following never occurred to you: maybe they don't own an Apple device because they did some research before spending the money and learned ahead of time that such devices wouldn't suit their needs. I'd consider that person more pro-active and likely more wise than someone who blindly invests in something and ends up dissatisfied when the information was out there the whole time.

So if someone does own an Apple device and has complaints about it, what then? Are they now hypocrites for buying something they later decided they didn't like? Does worrying so much about their character do anything to address the legitimacy of any complaint they have about the design of the device? I don't believe so.

Re:OMG big brother... (1, Troll)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945734)

Oh, I have no problem with discussions about this and related topics. I'm just fed up with the slobbering hordes of "anti-fanboys" who show up every time Apple is mentioned (there is a similar but smaller reaction for Google, Microsoft and most other high-profile tech companies, Apple seems to be the main target for the "cool to hate" crowd and has been so for a while now).

These commenters rarely contribute to the discussion, don't bother reading up on the issues at hand and instead tend to just resort to fear-mongering, misinterpretations and of course outright name-calling.

This is an issue that should be discussed but the vast majority of comments I've seen so far have been along the lines of "APPLE SI TEH EVül!!1 STAEV JOBS IS SUING IS SATTEILT IN ORBIT TO TARKC UR POSISHION!!! ANY1 STIL USING CRAPPLE IPHONIE IS AN IDIOTS OR A FAGET 4 STAVE JOBS CAWK!!11one" (really, when venturing outside of "geek circles" and onto the internet at large that isn't very far from a very large number of comments I've seen although most have worse punctuation and don't use all-caps, the caps-lock is pretty much implied from the tone of the posts though)

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945900)

Oh, I have no problem with discussions about this and related topics. I'm just fed up with the slobbering hordes of "anti-fanboys" who show up every time Apple is mentioned (there is a similar but smaller reaction for Google, Microsoft and most other high-profile tech companies, Apple seems to be the main target for the "cool to hate" crowd and has been so for a while now).

These commenters rarely contribute to the discussion, don't bother reading up on the issues at hand and instead tend to just resort to fear-mongering, misinterpretations and of course outright name-calling.

You are exhibiting all the symptoms of cult-like behavior. You've got a set vocabulary of names to use for your perceived opponents, and stereotypical behavior sets to cast them into.

That makes you one of those Apple zealots that 'The Rest Of Us' have had to deal with for decades now. We're always happy to tell people like you to fuck off, btw.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945482)

"First they came for the Apple-product-owners,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't an Apple-product-owner."

If Apple does this and gets away with it, then everyone else will also do it and get away with it. And then we're one step further in a direction many of us don't want to go in. I applaud everyone who is outraged and speaks their voice. Freedom of speech is the shit.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945614)

Android is already doing this.

That said, all Apple is doing is making it *easier* to do. Phones have long tracked your location, they just didn't store it in a readily available format that an officer could read while standing next to your car.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945858)

The Android equivalent is opt-in. When you check it, the system explicitly states that you are opting in to share your location data and asks if you're sure that's what you want to do.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945880)

Wouldn't you be upset if you found out that you were carrying around a location logger for the last year? Law enforcement doesn't have to subpoena anything, it's all right there within reach if you are arrested for anything. I am not paranoid about US law enforcement in general, I just don't feel this is necessary and has the potential to be easily abused.

Re:OMG big brother... (5, Funny)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945350)

>>>its your phone so where is the problem.

When the cop pulls you over, and decides to take your phone for further examination, and discovers you've been attending (the horror) Libertarian and Ron Paul "Campaign For Liberty" meetings. Followed by a radio call that he's obtained a "suspected terrorist" and is bringing the suspect back to the station for questioning.

*
*Background: The U.S. and a few State governments distribute leaflets that Libertarian and Paul supporters are potential domestic terrorists and/or militia members.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945434)

Or maybe they see that you recently went shopping for a Casio watch: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-files-casio-wristwatch-alqaida?INTCMP=SRCH

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945436)

This is a legal problem, not a technological one. If you don't want cops using your cell phone against you like that the solution is to make it illegal.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945494)

Or to not use a cell phone that does that. but that's made difficult when it's done without telling you...

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945572)

And what if you volunteered your cellular phone to the police, ICE, or DHS agents because you believed you had nothing personal on it because you merely use it as a phone or to download (and immediately delete) messages or emails, and simply didn't know there was an unencrypted log of your global position sitting on it? Sure, that may not have been smart, but perhaps you had to catch a flight for an important meeting and decided a harmless bit of privacy intrusion wasn't something to miss a flight over? People make these kinds of decisions often--they hand over their devices to corporate security personnel, airport security, government workers. When they do so, they are considering privacy, and the information they have stored on their devices. However, they were making uninformed decisions, because they were unaware that on their phones (and apparently on computers they synced their phones to) was sitting an unencrypted travelogue.

Sure, the police, corporate security, and DHS agents probably didn't know that either. But maybe they did. Or maybe they copied an image of the device/hard drive, and now they can mine data they collected months ago.

Yes, this sort of behavior is unethical. So is sneaking into your office, copying an image of your device or hard disk when you're not around. Apple isn't responsible for people doing that. However, for users of Apple products, they need to make informed decisions about security when it comes to their computers and handheld devices, and perhaps many users would have made different security decisions (about locking things away from thieves or family members or unethical coworkers or competitors at conferences) had they known just what sensitive information their device was storing.

No, it's not Big Brother-esque. It's just incredibly lazy and stupid.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945608)

"When the cop pulls you over, and decides to take your phone for further examination, and discovers you've been attending (the horror) Libertarian and Ron Paul "Campaign For Liberty" meetings."

Good luck trying to figure that out from approximately km-scale precision unless they regularly hold their meetings in the middle of a gigantic field somewhere or on a small island surrounded by plenty of water. It's cell tower positions, not the phone's GPS position. Upon searching your phone the best they get is a list of cell phone tower positions where you were within a few km. Big deal. That's like saying "phoned from somewhere in downtown Kansas City on the 5th of November". They could probably figure the same thing out from gas station receipts or a train ticket, and it's sufficiently vague that your date with that Libertarian hottie at the Ron Paul meeting will probably go unnoticed.

All Apple needs to do is clear the cache more frequently. Problem solved.

Re:OMG big brother... (1, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945664)

I just assume Ron Paul supporters and libertarians are racist women haters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul/Newsletters_sandbox#Ron_Paul_newsletter_controversy [wikipedia.org]

In 2006, Paul joined 32 other members of Congress in opposing the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, originally passed to remove barriers to voting participation for minorities.

Opposed to Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Paul introduced the Sanctity of Life Act of 2005, a bill that would have defined human life to begin at conception, and removed challenges to prohibitions on abortion from federal court jurisdiction.

Re:OMG big brother... (4, Insightful)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945438)

Sorry, but the problem is that apple is not tracking anybody, its that apple is not tracking anybody....yet.

Also, there is the issue of why the phone is doing this in the first place. Why spend the time programming this 'feature' into a phone unless its going to be used for something.

Just because apple isnt doing anything evil with this data does not mean they could not later, or someone else could make a trojan to gather this data now that its widely known.

Apple is getting stomped for this, and rightly so.

Re:OMG big brother... (4, Insightful)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945708)

its that apple is not tracking anybody....yet.

Sounds like a job for the pre-crime division! I find it terribly amusing that we're speculating about Apple's possible nefarious use of this technology at some indeterminate point in the future, in a thread labeled "OMG big brother."

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945478)

Correction, the location database is stored naked on the PC/Mac syncing side, so the problem is affecting PCs too (any malware can take a look...).

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945684)

Correction, the location database is stored naked on the PC/Mac syncing side, so the problem is affecting PCs too (any malware can take a look...).

PEBCAK: encryption of the backup can be turned on by checking a single checkbox.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945730)

You're right - by default. It's worth noting that this data is not accessible if you encrypt your backups.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

Jazzbunny (1251002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945616)

Do you have any reliable sources for your claim? F-secure says using the default settings your data is sent to Apple twice a day. [f-secure.com]

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945740)

That's for location services, which can be turned off. It's been established that that has nothing to do with the file in question.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945618)

But Apple would prefer the phone *not* be yours, right? Apple, and all of these other tech services industries, can't keep making the claim that they can change EULA's and ToS's whenever they want because the OS/Software/System/Etc is actually theirs and not yours -- but then turn around and claim that it *isn't* theirs when it isn't convenient.

If Apple keeps arguing that the OS, software, etc on your devices actually belongs to them, then this file also belongs to them, and by virtue of it being on your phone, it already belongs to Apple. Your phone doesn't have to send it to anywhere, if the software isn't yours, the service isn't yours, and all the included data isn't yours, then this file doesn't belong to you either. So who does it belong to? Apple. It's already their's, whether sent or not.

This story is bigger than just this situation with Apple. This needs to apply to Sony and PS3's, Google and Androids, Valve and Steam, etc, etc. This case needs to set a standard on ownership regulations, and what these companies can actually claim. It's been far too long for this to be addressed.

Re:OMG big brother... (1)

Coldmoon (1010039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945692)

...Big Deal

So you are of the opinion that it is ok to have a database; whose existence appears to be a mystery to about 90% of the public; that keeps detailed location data for an indefinite period of time (ref: years); that is unencrypted; that can be accessed not only by thieves, but Law Enforcement as well; that can be used to provide a detailed time-line map of where you have been; is not a big deal?

Are you really that apathetic? No wonder we are loosing our freedoms at an ever increasing pace...

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945710)

It's pretty serious if it's used against you. Mine shows me all over the place within 2-3 miles, despite it being on my desk the whole time.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945828)

My biggest concern would be that Apple collected the information and then left it lying around ( unencrypted yet )! I find this extremely irresponsible.

  It's almost like they teamed up with a crime syndicate.

Very big deal.

Re:OMG big brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945854)

Oh ok, thanks for letting me know. I'm going to stand idle until Apple does use this information in a way I don't approve, then I'm going to be REALLY mad about it! Not a moment too soon though. /sarcasm

Apple go caught with their pants down, exhibiting big brother behavior, thankfully before they were able to do anything with it. We're well within reason to let Apple know this is unacceptable double standards.

From running the 1984 ad (5, Funny)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945246)

to becoming Big Brother, they've come a long way.

Re:From running the 1984 ad (2)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945842)

Yes, there was that golden period between when they were reviled for being a "toy" OS and when they were reviled for being too successful.

That was a good 6 months.

And in the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945266)

Apple gets free advertising.

What a crock (0)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945274)

Except they aren't tracking anyone. I understand that countries are investigating to protect their citizens, the other two sound like typical litigious americans.

smoke is there any secret where we are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945280)

why one might want to hide from being surveiled, profitsized, unchosen, defunctdead etc... is anyone's guess. after interpreting the genuine native elders leadership initiative sponsored teepeeleaks etchings, one immediately realizes that there's really no where to hide, but the reasoning behind wanting to is sound.

fewer unwashed, armies flocking to cradle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945472)

fiction comes true again. some of the most lethal theater ever sciptdead. we must focus, on the images, of our right to serve god, given by god, to the chosen ones, to distribute to our rulers, who in turn assign us our right to serve god, in the most effective way, which is destroying god's (& in turn, our owned) enemies. on to mebotuh, weather permitting.

The patent (2)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945288)

Umm isn't this pretty much what the telcos store anyways already in their own databases? The';ve used this info already on the First 48 hours show.

Ohh my I just noticed this in the patent write up "A computer-implemented method" Damn how silly of me its different because a computer is now doing it.

Re:The patent (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945542)

Umm isn't this pretty much what the telcos store anyways already in their own databases? The';ve used this info already on the First 48 hours show.

Good catch!

Re:The patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945620)

The big difference is that the government has to request the information from the telcos and have *foundation* for that request. Your telco doesn't sniff what wifi networks you are using, doesn't push advertising to your phone, and is generally restricted in what information that can share with affiliates.

I read something just other day about this info being uploaded to Apple every 12 hours. I can't confirm this, but it is possible. If they can remove an app from your phone, how hard do you think it is for them to pull the contents of this file?

Re:The patent (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945780)

I read something just other day about this info being uploaded to Apple every 12 hours. I can't confirm this, but it is possible. If they can remove an app from your phone, how hard do you think it is for them to pull the contents of this file?

False, that's Location Services (which can be turned off.)

Letterman: Top Ten Apple Excuses (0)

theodp (442580) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945296)

From the Home Office in Cupertino [cbs.com] :
9."So...you don't want us doing that?"
7."Who doesn't like to be tracked like a wild animal?"
6."I just wanted to know where you were 24 hours a day because I love you"
3."Relax, we were just taking your private information and selling it"
1."That's nothing -- we also take photos of you in the shower

Point Less? (5, Insightful)

ags1 (1883204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945312)

Isn't having a cell phone (especially one with apps that can access the GPS location) always track able by someone? Don't get me wrong I don't like the idea of being tracked, but the only way your going to achieve this, is to leave your cell phone at home.

Re:Point Less? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945728)

Most 'tracking' capabilities in your phone are used with explicit approval from the application, can be disabled, and have utility. And certainly the publication of that data is voluntary.

This is not that. Though time will tell if Apple is, or will be, slurping this data back to their datacenters. Such is the problem with such a closed platform, who knows wtf is going on unless you hack on it or trust the manufacturer to be honest... which is hard with Apple. They're usually very closed about what they're doing... with anything.

Hmmm (1)

riegel (980896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945340)

Tracking the locations of cell towers != tracking a user

Re:Hmmm (1)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945440)

Tracking the locations of cell towers != tracking a user

So - at what level of resolution does tracking become a problem?

Re:Hmmm (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945522)

It could be accurate to the millimeter and it wouldn't matter, it's only a problem when that information falls into the hands of anyone but the user. That is NOT happening.

Re:Hmmm (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945600)

Tracking the locations of cell towers != tracking a user

Is that the granularity of the database?!?

Damn, people are paranoid! (sometimes rightly so; but not in this case).

So, people are whining that the database kept to minimize call-drops when switching cell-towers (and to provide COARSE location data for Location Services) is now transmogrified into having a big-red-blinking-light attached to the top of your head?!?

Sheesh!

Maybe not the phone's location. (3, Funny)

losthought (1393251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945362)

Take it as you will but this dude [willclarke.net] seems to think this data isn't actually a log of where an iPhone user has been. He claims it is actually location data of the cell towers the iPhone has seen. Obviously that kind of data could give rough location data but not with any granularity or meaningful accuracy.

I do have an iPhone and have looked at my own data with the Tracker app. On the surface I would have to say there is some validity to this guy's claim because the location data on my phone included places I haven't been within 10 or 20 miles of ever. With that said I still installed the untrack app on my phone to dump the tables in the database where this data is stored, but that's mainly because my Tinfoil Hat Wearer's Club membership agreement required me to do so.

Just look at the patent.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945380)

"Claims:

1. A computer-implemented method performed by a location aware device, the method comprising: configuring a processor of the location aware device to collect network information broadcast from a number of network transmitters over a time span; and storing the network information and corresponding timestamps in a database as location history data."

I can generate that kind of patents as fast as I can type. Let's see...

1.A computer implemented mechanism to count from computer-defined 0 to an arbitrary computer number in an efficient way.

3. The method of claim 1, where the result is stored in a database.

4. The method of claim 1, where count begins from an arbitrary number.

5. The method of claim 1, where the counter is incremented by a computer-defined step that is not an integer 1.
... Should start building my "portfolio" asap.

Re:Just look at the patent.... (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945640)

"Claims:

1. A computer-implemented method performed by a location aware device, the method comprising: configuring a processor of the location aware device to collect network information broadcast from a number of network transmitters over a time span; and storing the network information and corresponding timestamps in a database as location history data." I can generate that kind of patents as fast as I can type. Let's see...

1.A computer implemented mechanism to count from computer-defined 0 to an arbitrary computer number in an efficient way.

3. The method of claim 1, where the result is stored in a database.

4. The method of claim 1, where count begins from an arbitrary number.

5. The method of claim 1, where the counter is incremented by a computer-defined step that is not an integer 1. ... Should start building my "portfolio" asap.

Exactly!

And Apple, like all big "tech" companies, patents a LOT of things they have no intention of implementing; or, which, for a variety of reasons, never see the light of day.

Just because someone was able to use a patent search engine, does NOT mean that the patent had anything to do with a shipping product.

It's a GPS! (2, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945384)

This whole thing is incredibly bizarre. People are complaining that their GPS knows where it's been. Think about that. Next they will be complaining that their phone keeps track of their calls. The horror!

The information doesn't even get sent anywhere. It is collected by the phone for its own use. Sure, when you back the phone up to your computer this gets moved along with everything else. Darn Apple for backing up your phone when you tell it to back up your phone. How thoughtless. You'd think they would at least include an option to encrypt it so that no one could... oh, wait they did. With a single easy-to-use checkbox option.

Seriously, if anyone out there is this paranoid about anyone going through their backups or phones then a smart-phone is probably not the tool for them. If anyone really is going through your backups they have physical access to your computer and phone and your position history is probably the least of your worries. Grow up. Yes, the iPhone (and every other smartphone) keeps more information then phones (or anything else) did twenty years ago. They also do more things than anything did twenty years ago. That's the selling point.

Re:It's a GPS! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945444)

It's worse than that. They have a list of every Email and text message sent and a history or every website you visited.

Oh my god does the world know about this? I have to inform everyone on facebook after I finish up loading my tagging myself in photos that have geo location tags in them.

not essential for a smartphone (4, Insightful)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945558)

Reading your comment would make one think that location tracking and location history is part of being a "smart" phone. There's nothing in the smartphone that requires this behaviour.

The problem with this data is that
1) A user cannot erase it analogous to clearing cache/cookines on a PC
2) It is purposely hidden from the user
3) Law enforcement in states like Michigan can download this information WITHOUT a warrant
4) Potential for abuse by apps and / or people who will stalk you/spy on you unbeknown to you.

Not to mention, that this is just wrong. There are certain inalienable rights (or at least they are supposed to be there), and a right to privacy is one of them.

Any such system should be opt-in ONLY.

Re:not essential for a smartphone (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945702)

The right to privacy from your own phone? You realize that this is the thing that you use to send you conversations with people over the air through a series of third party servers? If you are afraid of your phone hearing your conversations or your GPS knowing where it is then it is long past time for you to check out of modern society.

Purposefully hidden from the user? In the same sense that the rest of the system files are busy in the background running the system.

And yes, these kinds of things are necessary in a smartphone. At least as long as a smartphone is defined as more than a regular phone with a big-ass screen.

Re:It's a GPS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945736)

This whole thing is incredibly bizarre. People are complaining that their GPS knows where it's been. Think about that. Next they will be complaining that their phone keeps track of their calls. The horror!

In Soviet Amerika, GPS helps THEM find YOU.

Re:It's a GPS! (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945772)

By the same logic, you shouldn't worry about having a secret zipper on the back of your pants. It's on your pants, there for your own use. Nobody has unzipped it yet, so it must be benign.

Don't worry, no one is going to pull down that secret zipper and screw you.

Re:It's a GPS! (1)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945918)

Surely the fact that the data is not currently being used is irrelevant. Once the data is copied to your computer when you perform a sync you are then wide open for any future virus that may target that information. How someone could actually make use of that information I couldn't say but it is a very real possibility.

You know what surprises me? (4, Funny)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945386)

That people are surprised by this.

JUST LEAVE STEVE ALONE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945504)

Leave him alone !! He just wants to be Steve in the time he has left !! Why won't you just leave Steve alone !!

You all hate the free market (2, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945596)

Whatever is good for companies is good for society. The Magic Invisible Hand of the Free market will eventually give everyone what they want. Why are you against free markets? Why are you against freedom? Why are you against the Best Economic System On Earth (TM)? Why *can't* Apple do what it wants with its own phone operating system and phones? You don't own iOS - you only have the temporary right to operate it. It's a license agreement, not a bill of sale. If the phone collects data on you, that's because it was designed that way. Page 25, subsection c, footnote 1 of the iOS license agreement allows this and you consented when you acquired the phone.

This is being used to track terrorists! If you are against this, you are for the terrorists!

Seriously people, THINK.

abj V arrq gb tb gnxr n sevttva' fubjre nsgre glcvat gung.
V srry qvegl.

--
BMO

Re:You all hate the free market (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945766)

It's a shame you aren't a farmer-- you're good at making straw men.

Re:You all hate the free market (1)

ravenscar (1662985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945904)

LOL - read the comments above. People aren't nearly as concerned about Apple getting the information as they are about the government.

Really??? (1)

Nautica (681171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945632)

What do you think the cell phone providers do? They store cell phone location information all the time and give it to law enforcement when needed!

Untrackerd causing problems? (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35945844)

Has Untrackerd the "fix" caused problems for anyone else? My phone (3gs 4.0.1 8A306) randomly dies and refuses to boot unless I'm plugged into a computer or am holding the home button down while it boots. I'll admit it could be a coincidence but this foolishness started within 8 hours after installing this.

Good Showing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35945872)

The Apple FanBoys are certainly gathering to defend this round in their ever expanding customer abuse portfolio.

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