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Google Map App's Version of Anonymity Might Violate EU Privacy Laws

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the of-course-we-don't-know-your-name-#449709761 dept.

EU 89

Ars Technica reports that Google's map application for iOS, however popular it might be with users, raises red flags with European regulators, who maintain that it by default does not sufficiently safeguard user privacy as required by EU privacy rules. Ars quotes Marit Hansen of Germany's Independent Centre for Privacy Protection on why: "Hansen's main gripe is that Google's use of 'anonymous' is misleading. 'All available information points to having linkable identifiers per user," she told Computerworld. Hansen added this would allow Google to track several location entries, thus leading to her assumption that Google's 'anonymous location data' would be considered 'personal data' under the European law."

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89 comments

AND GOD'S LAW !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307417)

And he be one mean son of a ... hm ??

Re:AND GOD'S LAW !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307499)

And he be one mean son of a ... hm ??

Nobody wants to admit it. But GOD MADE ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND STEVE!

Stop being gay. Now. Hairy man-ass is not the proper receptacle for a penis. Never was.

Anal sex doesn't do anything. It just makes your dick stink.

Re:AND GOD'S LAW !! (-1, Offtopic)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307589)

Anal sex doesn't do anything. It just makes your dick stink.

I'm guessing you've never smelled a vagina.

Re:AND GOD'S LAW !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307639)

I'm guessing you've never smelled a vagina.

I worked a summer on a prawn trawler, you insensitive clod!

Re:AND GOD'S LAW !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307733)

I'm guessing you've never smelled a vagina.

A blind man passes by a fish counter.

"Hello Ladies!"

Re:AND GOD'S LAW !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307523)

Eric Harris, age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold, age 18 (his medical records have never been made available to the public), killed 12 students and 1 teacher and wounded 23 others in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves.

Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather's girlfriend and many fellow students (10 dead, 12 wounded) at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself.

Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, was on Paxil when he took a rifle to his high school in Wahluke (Washington state) and held 23 classmates hostage. Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

Jarred Viktor, age 15, stabbed his grandmother 61 times after 5 days on Paxil.

Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand-off at his school.

Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at his high school in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded.

A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic, chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania.

Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa): school shooting in El Cajon, California.

Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic's file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister. Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.

Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.

Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.

Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.

Billy Willkomm, a University of Florida student, was
prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide, hanging from a tall ladder at the family's Gulf Shore Boulevard home in Jul 2002.

Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara's parents said "The damn doctor wouldn't take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil."

Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002.

Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family's detached garage.

Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.

Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun.

Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.

A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.

Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and "other drugs for the conditions."

Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.

Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School, then he committed suicide.

Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.

Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

Re:AND GOD'S LAW !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307537)

Who cares.

Re:AND GOD'S LAW !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308055)

Please list all lunatics who have killed people WITHOUT taking prescribed drugs.

BTW : You aren't a fucking SciFag, are you?

Let's complain about everything (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307451)

Let's whine incessantly about harmless things until companies that make cool, innovative products are unable to operate under the weight of pointless, idealistic regulations.

So to m0r0ns like you ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42311297)

... it is OK for a company to ILLEGALLY and covertly collect private information just because you got some crap that looks cool (ie: nothing from Google is original).

Versions of anonymity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307469)

LOL. Seriously?

If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (-1)

blackest_k (761565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307501)

Seriously
if you ask google for directions for a to b then they need to know what a and b are. I honestly don't care what google knows and it is pretty pointless trying to target ads at me since i do not see them.

Now if I wanted to indulge in something that could cause problems if it was known I wouldn't ask google anything. Your privacy is only private if you don't tell anyone.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307553)

if you ask google for directions for a to b then they need to know what a and b are.

True, but they don't need to know who is asking nor that the same person five minutes earlier searched for adult stores.

I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307557)

On Android, I can turn off all the "location" services anytime I'm not using GPS. Saves the battery from being eaten by GPS. Does iPhone give this option?

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307581)

And the misinformation continues to persist. Please realize that Google's location services (such as Latitude) don't turn on the GPS unless you are using a GPS enabled app. For example if you start Maps or Flixster or something - the GPS gets turned on. When you leave the app, the GPS turns off. But just the location reporting like Latitude uses the cell antennas and any WiFi access points nearby to determine the location. They do not turn on the GPS. It makes no sense to "turn off" the GPS if you are not using an app that uses it. It will not be activated unless an app needs it.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307661)

I haven't checked into it as far as you, but if I leave GPS checked "on", even when I'm not using Latitude, my battery life is horrible.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307887)

I haven't checked into it as far as you, but if I leave GPS checked "on", even when I'm not using Latitude, my battery life is horrible.

Is the GPS icon (the satellite dish) visible on the notification bar? If so, then some task is running that is actively querying the GPS receiver, and that can kill your battery.

On my HTC Thunderbolt, I leave GPS "on" all the time so that apps don't have to ask if they can turn it on, and I get at least 36 hours between charges, and as much as 60 if I'm not making voice calls (which is the #1 battery suck for me). The "what used your battery" screen never shows the GPS as taking any significant portion...it's always "Phone standby", "Display", and a couple of commonly used apps that take up everything.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307967)

That's incredible battery life. No, this is an older Samsung, I've had it for awhile now. I've never gotten near that kind of battery life - I should get something newer. On this phone, calls are not much of a drain, but leaving GPS on at all is a huge drain. There's no icon on the notification bar, but that may be a difference between your newer HTC and my older Samsung.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42322627)

If there's no icon on the notification bar, then GPS should not be on and it should not be draining your battery. Check the 'battery usage' screen (if this exists on your version of Android) to see what's responsible for your battery drain. It is unlikely that disabling GPS will improve your battery life if you aren't using any apps that also use GPS, but with as many Android devices out there as there are, a bug is always possible. I'd encourage you to try and be scientific about it. If your version of Android doesn't have a battery status thing in the settings that plots your battery level over time, get an app that does that, and watch the slope of that line with GPS enabled and disabled (give it a few hours in both settings without using the phone).

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (2)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307625)

On Android, I can turn off all the "location" services anytime I'm not using GPS. Saves the battery from being eaten by GPS. Does iPhone give this option?

Yeah. You disable location services altogether. And individual apps cannot access your location unless you allow them to -- an alert shows up the first time they try. If you refuse, it's up to the app to figure out what to do without your location; no API will let it find the information.

Admittedly, if you ask Google Maps directions from A to B, Google came make a rather safe assumption that you're heading to B from A, even if you disallow it to access your precise location.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307659)

Admittedly, if you ask Google Maps directions from A to B, Google came

How nice for Google.

make a rather safe assumption that you're heading to B from A

I would assume the opposite.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307993)

I would assume the opposite.

Then you'd be wrong. Read more carefully.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308315)

Think more carefully. I would wager that there are a LOT more searches than trips, to the point that it's nowhere near a safe assumption that a search leads to a trip.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308343)

That's not the opposite.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307671)

If you don't want help from Google Maps with your location, then why use Google Maps? Seems like that is the whole point of having it on the phone. I certainly can't see the little map well enough on a phone screen in order for the map itself to be of much use. Turn by turn directions is about the only useful feature.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308081)

The issue is Google collecting data on where you've been. That's not to serve you. It's to serve the interests of Google.

It's one of the reasons Apple wouldn't accept Google's conditions for adding turn-by-turn navigation to the old Google Maps app.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308209)

I agree - but how do you separate out the sharing of location data with the giving and receiving of turn-by-turn directions?

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308257)

SImple. You don't have a persistent ID associated with all requests from the app. The problem is not that a location is sent to the server as part of a request. It's that it's associated with a persistent ID and stored by Google.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308471)

Meh - seems like a ridiculous standard to hold any GPS provider to - "I want turn by turn directions, and for you to redirect me when I make a wrong turn, but I don't want you to know where I'm located or where I'm headed". I guess it could be implemented, but if that's the European standard, it seems a bit silly to me. Whatever.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (3, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308561)

"I want turn by turn directions, and for you to redirect me when I make a wrong turn, but I don't want you to know where I'm located or where I'm headed".

None of that follows from what I said.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42309747)

Meh - seems like a ridiculous standard to hold any GPS provider to - "I want turn by turn directions, and for you to redirect me when I make a wrong turn, but I don't want you to know where I'm located or where I'm headed". I guess it could be implemented, but if that's the European standard, it seems a bit silly to me. Whatever.

It's not "I don't want you to know where I'm located". It's "I don't want you to store that the location I give you is mine. I also don't want you to store that the location I gave you today was given to you by the same person that gave you a different location yesterday, so that you can't correlate different locations".

Scenario (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42310847)

Meh - seems like a ridiculous standard to hold any GPS provider to - "I want turn by turn directions, and for you to redirect me when I make a wrong turn, but I don't want you to know where I'm located or where I'm headed".

Does it seem so odd to not want a GPS provider to know that you specifically go there every year on November 14th at 9am?

Or to have a profile that can predict exactly when you will be at work any day of the year after sampling your movements for a decade?

All of that is easy to do with what Google collects by default.

And before you and others start, Apple does not have that data on you because it does not store details of your request permanently.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308729)

Since they were invented we have been doing turn by turn navigation on devices that do not have any network connectivity at all.

It's only recently we started having network equipped devices, and there is no reason for the remote server to know who is asking for the directions. Nothing should be in the request but the IP address, and even that should not be recorded. Obviously a unique id is needed for *the current route* but it doesn't need to use that id again next time you ask for directions - generate a new ID.

My favourite example of doing privacy right/wrong is the malicious website detection in safari/chrome: Safari downloads a list of malicious websites *from google* and then notifies the user if they visit one of them. Instead, chrome sends *every website you ever go to* to google and it responds whether or not it's in the same database safari has locally. Both functionality identical, but one protects your privacy and the other doesn't.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42310961)

You can still correlate requests sent to the server, e.g. by assuming that two devices requesting directions for the same place cannot have the same position. If you manage to correlate this information with any other information sent to Google, e.g. if gmail requests the location as well, then they can use the position to link the mapping information with a gmail account, which in turn is linked to everything else you do while interacting with Google.

tl;dr
You can still be tracked by Google even without a persistent ID.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308363)

Why do you think it's one or the other? It's both.
Take something as simple as the choice of the initial map to show. Doesn't it make sense that the app show you an initial view that covers the places you normally visit? If you range over 30 miles in a week, the map should show you a 30x30 mile area. If you are an urban dweller who ranges over 5 miles, then it should show you a 5 mile x 5 mile square. And, if you'll put a few brain cells to work, you can probably think of fifty other examples where knowledge of your history will make the mapping app slightly better.
Maybe those advantages aren't important to you. That's your decision, of course, but all kinds of things get better if they are personalized. It's not black-and-white.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42309435)

It's one of the reasons Apple wouldn't accept Google's conditions for adding turn-by-turn navigation to the old Google Maps app.

I'm assuming the reason for Apple's reason is that they want the access to the information for themselves. That said, making this stuff truly anonymous is a good thing.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42313371)

That's the difference. They both make use of the data, but Google has the ability to build up individual user profiles from the data. Apple just knows what crowds are doing.

And it's not detail, nor a moral difference. It stems from their different business models.

Google's business model is targeted advertising. For several years, their every move is about profiling users to advertise to them.

Apple's business model is selling hardware. Their moves are about making the product more attractive.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307627)

Yes, since years ago. Are you retarded or just a Google shill?

Yes, I'm retarded. (-1, Troll)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307679)

And I'm smart enough never to have used an overpriced iPhone. I went from Blackberry straight to Android, and missed out on the iPhone hit to my wallet.

Re:Yes, I'm retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308205)

Yes, because there's a HUGE cost savings getting either of those rather than an iphone.

The vast majority of the cost to you is in the cost of the plan. The delta in the device cost, especially with a term, is pretty negligible in comparison. Also, it's not like there aren't $600+ Android/BB devices out there (you know, the ones with comparable specs to the iphone?)

Most people paid ~$200 for their iphones (and $2,000+ to their provider over two years). Even if you got your phones for free, its not like you've managed to outsmart all those isheeple and save a fortune.

Plus, as a BB user you were likely royally screwed for years on the special BB-specific data plan.

Re:Yes, I'm retarded. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308503)

I paid $45 a month for unlimited data, text, phone on the Blackberry. Now I pay $40 a month for unlimited data, text, phone on an Android. My costs have been lower than what you propose. Until very recently, there were no cheap unlimited plans for iPhone.

Re:Yes, I'm retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42311995)

Yes, because there's a HUGE cost savings getting either of those rather than an iphone.

The vast majority of the cost to you is in the cost of the plan. The delta in the device cost, especially with a term, is pretty negligible in comparison. Also, it's not like there aren't $600+ Android/BB devices out there (you know, the ones with comparable specs to the iphone?)

Most people paid ~$200 for their iphones (and $2,000+ to their provider over two years). Even if you got your phones for free, its not like you've managed to outsmart all those isheeple and save a fortune.

Plus, as a BB user you were likely royally screwed for years on the special BB-specific data plan.

I paid $45 a month for unlimited data, text, phone on the Blackberry. Now I pay $40 a month for unlimited data, text, phone on an Android. My costs have been lower than what you propose. Until very recently, there were no cheap unlimited plans for iPhone.

I think what he is trying to say is that anybody can buy a low spec relatively cheap Android phone and then point at the iPhone and claim it is over priced. It's like buying a Toyota and then pointing at a BMW and claiming it is overpriced even though the BMW outperforms the Toyota in a whole lot of ways, to get a Toyota built vehicle with that kind of performance you need to buy a Lexus and then, alluvasudden, you find the price difference has been significantly reduced. If you try to find a top-of-the-line Android phone with comparable specs to an iPhone you will quickly discover that the device costs are not all that different.

Re:Yes, I'm retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42312051)

Oh, is that why Android phones have MUCH more hardware inside? And if you wait a few months, the prices drop due to manufacturing efficiencies, and the company has covered most of their sunk costs developing the phone?

Let's see, the GS3 has:
- NFC Radio for mobile payment.
- SD Card / slot.
- Bigger Screen (by almost an inch!)
- More compatability testing for industry wide standards, such as MHL or DLNA.
- Larger Battery, mostly for the larger screen. lol

They're vastly different. So your analogy is accurate. THe GS3 is the porshe in your comparison. LOL

Oh, and of course, don't forget that your mobile company is charging you behind everyone's backs: Sprint paid $15 *B*illion (b, as in bob) to have the holy phone on their network last year. You think they're going to swallow that?

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (3, Informative)

dissy (172727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307845)

On Android, I can turn off all the "location" services anytime I'm not using GPS. Saves the battery from being eaten by GPS. Does iPhone give this option?

iPhone doesn't work quite like that. The GPS radio is never left on all the time.

There is an option to never allow it to come on of course, but even with that switched on, the GPS only gets activated when an app needs to use it and you allowed that app to.

It also shows a GPS icon in the title bar whenever an app is actively using it.

When an app first runs, the OS asks you if you want to allow location services for this app. If you click no the API won't return that data.
If you click yes, it adds it to the list of allowed GPS apps.
You can pull this list up under Settings at any time to remove an app after you have already allowed it.

Basically battery life only takes a hit when you see that icon, and that icon only shows up while in an app you allowed to use it. Once you flip back to springboard (aka the launcher) or into another app, it gets shut off again.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307913)

To put it more succinctly, what is this "bad battery life while using GPS" you speak of? Unlikely Android (or BlackBerry) you can indiscriminantly leave all the radios in an iPhone turned on with minimal impact to battery life. Ditto having 50 apps open simultaneously...

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307989)

Then I wonder what causes the battery drain problems on the iPhone? My daughter's 4S is constantly running low.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307999)

Daughter? I'd guess text messaging, voice calls and Angry Birds type games, in that order.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308005)

She doesn't play games. She's in college - tons of texting.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42312033)

She doesn't play games. She's in college - tons of texting.

In that case it's probably texting, voice calls and Facebooking/Tweeting/etc. in no particular order. People associate phone calls with battery drain but for some reason it doesn't seem to occur to them that using the net work connection drains the battery. A lot of people also keep GPS and Bluetooth switched on for no particular reason and then complain about low battery life. Switching those on and off on an as-needed basis increased the battery life of my old iPhone 3GS very noticeably.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

dissy (172727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308953)

Wasn't me who spoke of it, it was the parent poster I replied to who claimed leaving GPS on drained battery life.

Android GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42312075)

Android functions the same way, except Android users don't get spammed with popups asking to authorize.

The OP probably has Latitude or some similar service turned on eating his battery. Turning the master GPS switch off with a convenient widget or notifcation area tray would obviously save his battery.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308675)

On Android, I can turn off all the "location" services anytime I'm not using GPS. Saves the battery from being eaten by GPS. Does iPhone give this option?

Yes.

It also gives you a list of apps that have read your location in the last five minutes as well as a list of every app that has ever read your location.

Apps are not allowed to read the GPS at all unless they have a cryptographic signature (signed by Apple) permitting them to do so —Apple does not give that signature out unless the developer actually needs it.

When your phone is first turned on, it asks if you want to allow the GPS to be used _at all_ and explains the privacy risk (one of them being that it will anonymously send a list of nearby cell tower/wifi ID's to Apple's datacentre which will respond with their lat/lon —it keeps a cache though, so it will not ask for the same tower more than once unless it has not been seen for months). You can change your mind at any time, a simple click turns it off.

The first time any app tries to use the GPS, the operating system asks the user if it's OK. If the user says no, then it tells the app that there is no GPS signal right now. It doesn't tell the app what button the user pressed, it just tells it that there is zero signal strength. Once again, you can change your mind at any time for any individual app, just look at the list of apps that are currently/have ever read your location and flick it off.

There is also a systemwide status icon for the GPS. Solid if it's an accurate signal, and outlined if it's not very accurate (eg, if it's just checking where you are within a few hundred metres).

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42309077)

On Android, I can turn off all the "location" services anytime I'm not using GPS. Saves the battery from being eaten by GPS. Does iPhone give this option?

Really - what is the name of that magical setting in Android? The last Android I used was Gingerbread and it gave me the option to turn on/off GPS but no way to block apps from snooping other location data without going in to airplane mode. iOS, on the other hand, actually allows me to deny an app access to Location services so that I can have an Internet connected phone while still preventing an app from plotting my location via Wifi access point data and cell antenna data.

That kind of privacy controls is part of why I switched from Android.

Re:I don't know how iPhone works. (1)

LocalH (28506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42310163)

Jailbreak and install Protect My Privacy. Allows you to control access to personal data (location, contacts, device identifier, etc) on a per-app basis.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307573)

You define private=secret. I agree with your definition, but many in Europe consider "private" something that should be respected by others, even if they know (by which means is irrelevant for them). Example: If you are openly gay or lesbian, that's a "private" matter, and shouldn't change your chances for getting a job, adopting a child, or influence which ads you see. Let me repeat: I like your definition better than the other one, but I understand both sides of the argument.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307597)

Or if you are irritated by a countries laws, don't do business there.

Perhaps you don't care, but I do.

Have anybody ever asked you for directions? Please tell me the exact time and date, where he or she was before and when after. This can even be a person close to you.

You can't? Google can and that is why you should not compare individual situations with the ones that are done by companies who use a database.

The fact that you do not care about your privacy does not stop me fighting for it.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307631)

What, exactly, is stopping someone from keeping a list of people who ask for directions in person?

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (0)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307715)

Common courtesy.
But also written laws making it illegal to create a database with personal information without obtaining a permit or falling into the few explicitly defined exceptions.

I.e. a collection of data is treated differently from any individual datum.
This is often the case in the US too - you can take a picture of a warship docked in a public harbor, but if you take lots of warship pictures, don't be surprised if you get apprehended and charged. The main difference is that the EU laws tend to protect the individual, while the US laws tend to protect those in power (government and big business - but, I repeat myself).

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (1)

skids (119237) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308157)

EU laws tend to protect the individual, while the US laws tend to protect those in power

...which is sad given U.S. polemic about freedom and liberty.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (1)

dead_user (1989356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42311191)

Welcome stations (Rest Areas) DO ask you to fill in your name and address when asking for directions. Just sayin'.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (-1, Troll)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307673)

Or if you are irritated by a countries laws, don't do business there.

This is a good point. Let Europeans be limited to Apple Maps again and see if they demand a change to the law or not. They may well be willing to live with bad maps in exchange for higher privacy. Or they may storm Brussels.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307895)

They may well be willing to live with bad maps in exchange for higher privacy.

I fail to see how privacy has anything to do with providing good maps or directions? Isn't it just Graph Theory? Whether it is you or me that is asking for directions from point A to point B, the fact that you know stuff about me or not, does change the results... (or at least, it shouldn't)
Whatever happened to objectivity? Explain to me a scenario in which you get a different route from A to B than I the one get? Why would this ever be a good thing?
It appears to me that you have bought into the fact that in order to do anything 'good' or 'well done', it needs tracking of who is requesting the service. I have yet to see any type of evidence for this opinion.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (1)

dwillden (521345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308965)

Why different routes? Simple either by a setting or by learning your travel habits it learns that you prefer the shortest route possible, while I prefer the fastest route possible. For example I can be to work in 30 minutes if I drive a route that is 28 miles long with approx 25 of those miles on the interstate, that's the fastest route. Or I can choose the shortest route, it will usually take me about 35 minutes to get to work, but is only 23 miles long. five miles may not seem like much and not worth the five minutes but that's a quarter of a gallon of gas each way (okay a little less due to the efficiency of freeway driving versus having to stop frequently for lights and stop signs.) but that roughly half gallon of $3.50 a gallon gas each day adds up to a decent savings over time. That is one reason for differing routes. I use Waze for navigation and it has a setting to choose between fastest and shortest route. Google may have a similar setting or it may try and learn your habits (like many other Google products do) to determine the routing you would prefer.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42309163)

Why different routes? Simple either by a setting or by learning your travel habits it learns that you prefer the shortest route possible, while I prefer the fastest route possible.

As if Google had much interest in improving their services on a customized level. Pfft.

Google wants your location data (and, at least of Android, they'll start collecting your location data 24/7 once you agree to the terms of their Navigation app) as an extra data source to correct their maps and as a data source to revise their live and historical traffic data. Remember how excited people were when Google's online map directions took traffic into account before MapQuest's did?

What saddens me is that if Apple put out an update to the iOS6 maps app that permanently snooped on your phone's location and said it was to help improve service to "everybody" I bet about half of their users would praise Apple. If Google or Apple put out an app dedicated to that purpose, perhaps 25% would opt-in anyway. Frakin Google just doesn't believe in opt-in ... it's almost as if their corporate culture grew up in Communist Russia.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42315989)

The freeway costs less in gasoline. You'll get about twice the mileage on the freeway as you do in town, depending on how many stop signs and traffic lights there are, how they're timed, and how you drive. When you're at that long red light you're sitting here getting 0 mpg.

My car has an in-dash mileage computer, I get 27-33 on the freeway and 13-20 in the city, depending on lights and traffic.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (1)

dwillden (521345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42318003)

Not that big a difference, with my truck I actually get about 18 mpg on the freeway and 15-16 in city driving. If I was driving a greater distance it the freeway bonus would be greater, also the shorter route and the faster route are both on the same stretch of freeway for about a third of the route which reduces the freeway savings even more. Basically to go freeway I have to go past the location and then backtrack a little bit. Whereas the shorter route I get off the freeway earlier and cut the corner to the location.

We lived without google map before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308165)

We have also a lot of web based application. Sure they do not locate where you are for you, but if you are in western and central europe, you are more or less *always* a few kilometer away from a road crossing telling you directions (countryside) or a few dozen or hundred meter away from a street crossing telling you very precisely where you are (cityside). So.... we can live without google. Google lose revenue without us. Therefore if google don't want to respect our law, good riddance.

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307843)

*sigh* Does anyone even read the fucking summary any more?

The problem is that when you ask to "anonymous", your data is not actually anonymized. They can send directions for getting from A to B and then discard all personally identifying information, which is what a normal person would expect if they selected "anonymous".

Re:If you are bothered don't ask for directions. (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308127)

which is what a normal person would expect if they selected "anonymous".

On Slashdot there are two models of anonymity.

1) AmiMoJo is a pseudonym. We don't know your real name, but we can tie together your posts to learn a fair amount about you.

2) Anonymous Coward. Every post is separate. You never know which ACs are the same person.

For Google maps, people would expect type 2. What they get is type 1.

And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307513)

IMHO, this is SOP for Google. and no one should be surprised at this.
If Google were spart then they'd hold their hands up, admit they got it wrong and fix it pronto.
But will they do the right thing?

Re:And this is news? (-1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307611)

If Google were spart then they'd hold their hands up, admit they got it wrong and fix it pronto.
But will they do the right thing?

I deduce from your typoing that you're French or Belgian.
So, what's the prevalent thoughts about privacy in your neck of the woods? I know that Germany and Scandinavia takes it rather more seriously than England, who struggle with worse privacy problems, like CCTVs on every street corner and supermarkets telling big brother who bought condoms and beer.

Re:And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308103)

I'm not Belgian nor French.
I'm British and we don't have CCTV cameras on every street corner. I know I can travel around my area without being captured on CCTV.
I did like the comment about Supermarkets, condoms and beer. Do you have a reference for that one? I must have missed it.

IT seems a long time since Google stopped following the 'Do No Evil' mantra.

Re:And this is news? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308185)

Shut up, limey. Tiocfaidh ár lá!

Re:And this is news? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308801)

I'm not Belgian nor French.

And also unlikely the AC I replied to. Anyone mistyping p for m will very likely use a French or Belgian keyboard - on all other keyboards (including Dvorak and Maltron), the two are way too far apart.

Re:And this is news? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307617)

"SOP" and "no one should be surprised at this" do not constitute legal defences. I don't think anyone is surprised at this—but it's still a quandary.

haha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42307705)

still a huge joke that the most watched peoples on the planet are told they have 'privacy'.

It's their job to complain about privacy (2)

pentadecagon (1926186) | about a year and a half ago | (#42307759)

They call themselves Independent Centre for Privacy Protection, so they hardly have an unbiased opinion here.

Re:It's their job to complain about privacy (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308173)

Of course they do not have an unbiased opinion, they defend data protection and are a sort of data protection mine dog.

Re:It's their job to complain about privacy (1)

Zen Punk (785385) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308833)

It's _watch_dog, Biff. Watch-dog.

Re:It's their job to complain about privacy (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42309271)

I said mine dog and I meant mine dog.

Re:It's their job to complain about privacy (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42313653)

Actually, I googled "mine dog" [wikipedia.org] to see what he was blathering about, and found myself educated. He wasn't saying what you thought he was saying.

Re:It's their job to complain about privacy (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42312381)

Yes, and yet, I don't see them whining about Facebook who have outright breached European data protection laws time and time again without serious punishment.

Presumably in part, because of this sort of thing:

http://falkvinge.net/2012/03/02/how-microsoft-pays-big-money-to-smear-google-audaciously/ [falkvinge.net]

well....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308085)

between posted policies, google's interpretation of said policies, and what they do regardless... google as a whole is a violation of EU privacy laws.

just shut the whole thing down to the whole of the EU.. that might wake google up and change a few things to the benefit of their users (err, i mean their products).

Information Obsession (2)

MLCT (1148749) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308373)

I have to say I was surprised at how insistent the new iOS application is at trying to determine your location. Every time you go into it it asks for location services to be turned on. You can skip by it, but that would be the type of setting that with other programs would be a choice only made once, not pestering every time.

It is very clear that google are obsessed about knowing locations to enable them to tie and link you to services and advertising. AFAICT though the circle can only be completed if you are logged into google services on iOS â" then they can tie the ID to an account â" otherwise they will have to fall back to IP addresses which I am guessing they wouldn't do too routinely as it is not going to be all that reliable (shared addresses etc.).

Re:Information Obsession (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308511)

I have to say I was surprised at how insistent the new iOS application is at trying to determine your location. Every time you go into it it asks for location services to be turned on. You can skip by it, but that would be the type of setting that with other programs would be a choice only made once, not pestering every time.

It's also interesting how, when you click on a link in the newest versions of Google's iOS apps, they don't send you to Safari - they open up their own browsing window.

Re:Information Obsession (1)

dwillden (521345) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308991)

It's a mapping application, why would it not request you turn on the location services every time you use it. It's greatest functionality is only available when location services are on. Waze does the same thing in both IOS and Android, if you enter the app it requests access to Location services, because that information is key to it's primary use.

Yes you could be pulling it up just to look for a location, but most users these days are pulling these apps up for navigation purposes.

Not the same (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42310747)

It's a mapping application, why would it not request you turn on the location services every time you use it.

It should obviously ask at first. But if you said no, the app is notified, and to ask again every time when the user said no is pretty rude.

It's greatest functionality is only available when location services are on.

Knowing where YOU are on a map is for most people a secondary service. Primarily map applications are used to find where something else is on a map, then people can just follow roads to it. It makes it somewhat more difficult if your relative position is not also indicated, but not really for anyone that simply reads the names of the streets they are passing.

When I used Google Maps on the web (even on my iPhone) I never allowed it my location.

Waze does the same thing in both IOS and Android

Are you sure about that? If you disallow your location it asks every launch? Yes it would ask the first time, but the issue is asking every time.

but most users these days are pulling these apps up for navigation purposes.

Not true for myself or anyone I know, and does not require your location to be enabled since you can drop a pin for your starting point to ask for a route.

Re:Not the same (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a year and a half ago | (#42313027)

It should obviously ask at first. But if you said no, the app is notified, and to ask again every time when the user said no is pretty rude.

Errm no. When you have an application where many fundamental features require location services to be turned on I fully expect it to ask you every time. It's good when it does it too. My girlfriend has location services turned off. Apps inability to randomly turn on GPS (and her not needing to remember to exit said app) is a real saver of battery life. Some of us are actually quite happy for apps to tell us when they may not work as we expect, even if we in the past have clicked no.

Also knowing where YOU are on the map is primary to the searching function. It's the reason that when I type for instance Chevron into maps that it directs me to the NEAREST petrol station and not one on the other side of the country. A mapping application which doesn't know your location is utterly useless, and even the standard google maps will do a reverse lookup of your IP to identify where you are to help deliver a better service.

Also you clearly haven't used turn by turn navigation yet have you? Do you drop a new pin every 50m? You may claim not to want it but this is a fundamental feature that people have been bitching has been missing from iOS for years. Maybe that's why no one uses it for navigation purposes, you haven't been enlightened yet.

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