Government officials voice concern to Apple over location tracking

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Comments

  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Dear Steve,



    Regarding this cached data, you?re hoarding it wrong.



    Solipsism



    Sent from my iPad
  • twoslicktwoslick Posts: 16member
    I downloaded the app to check out my own phone's data. I can tell you now that there is nothing precise about the locations stored in there. So many of the stories make it sound like the phone is tracking your every movement. In fact it is not.



    I even downloaded the app source code and modified it to show a more detailed view of the plotted points. There were many points listed that I know for a fact I was nowhere near. My phone spends about 14 hours a day in my house. You know how many points were at my house? ZERO. The closest point was about a half mile away.



    While I think Apple should be more careful when caching data like this, I also think the story has been WAY overblown.



    I wish corrupt politicians like Al Franken would spend more time cleaning up government than jumping on the 'freak out' bandwagon.
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 16,830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a2gsg View Post


    and explained why they were collecting it, in a letter to several Congressmen. See:



    http://markey.house.gov/docs/applema...ton7-12-10.pdf



    This is excellent, thank you. Answers a number of questions.



    But it still begs the question of why Apple cannot encrypt the data or find some means to let users know such a thing exists, and how one can manage it (e.g., as one might manage browsing history).
  • kenwkkenwk Posts: 25member
    I think most senators are worried being tracked by their iPhone, they can get busted for cheating..
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 16,830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by twoslick View Post




    I wish corrupt politicians like Al Franken would spend more time cleaning up government than jumping on the 'freak out' bandwagon.



    Hold it. I have no stake in who Al Franken is, and don't even know much about him (other than his SNL antecedents).



    How did you know he is 'corrupt'?!



    This is the kind of shrillness that detracts from a serious discussion of issues.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    But it still begs the question of why Apple cannot encrypt the data or find some means to let users know such a thing exists, and how one can manage it (e.g., as one might manage browsing history).



    1) This wasn?t some hidden file that was unknown to the world, it just didn?t get the media attention until yesterday. Perhaps because of the associated app that brought to life the DB data.



    2) They could encrypt it, but doesn?t it say something about the non-nefarous nature of the file since it?s not encrypted? I think it does.



    3) What about all the other unencrypted data in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup? I can access those files and see all sorts of stuff about my apps contacts and calander. I?m sure if I took the time to parse the info I could see all my personal information. Why is that info less important from prying that have accessed your device or your personal account on your PC? I don?t it it. I think that info is more important, so why isn?t it under the same scrutiny?



    4) Apple has a GUI to turn it on and off, let you choose which apps are using it, and lets you know when it?s being access and has been accessed. Why purpose would it serve to let you manually delete all the old location data? If there is some reason you need to hide your general location then you can wipe your phone but that sounds suspect
  • nyllenylle Posts: 1member
    I have an Apple iPhone. every time i download an app. or program from apple iTunes store I am always asked if I will allow that app to pin point my location and keep tabs on my use of the application. There is a box bellow that you can mark your answer Yes or No. On my new iPhone 3GS I did notice that I can click on a photo in my picture album and see where the photo was taken. In that since I guess there is some sort of tracking involved. I know now a days most phones have a GPS tracker on them incase you are hurt or loss it can be used to locate you, if the phone is on. As far as tracking you with out the phone being activated, I haven't heard of that. You can be tracted throught cell towers but, only if your phone is on (I thought). My sugestion to those of you who are worried about being " tracked every where you go " just remember to, make sure when you kill your wife, drounding your friends, kidnap neighbors dogs, keep you phone turned off till you are out of the area.
  • fecklesstechguyfecklesstechguy Posts: 501member
    Seriously, Ed just doesn't figure things out very well, and Al's used to being much more in the limelight than he's getting as a northwoods Senator. So let's fire off an open letter because, well shucks we just want every one of our respective constituents to know their tax money is at work. Even if it is on old, unaccurate, imprecise, open data that is not hidden, nor encrypted because there is so little of actual value to an abuser of said information.



    Nice that the security team was able to generate a little media attention too, on the back of already known, discussed and resolved pseudo-issues.
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 16,830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    1) This wasn?t some hidden file that was unknown to the world, it just didn?t get the media attention until yesterday. Perhaps because of the associated app that brought to life the DB data.



    2) They could encrypt it, but doesn?t it say something about the non-nefarous nature of the file since it?s not encrypted? I think it does.



    3) What about all the other unencrypted data in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup? I can access those files and see all sorts of stuff about my apps contacts and calander. I?m sure if I took the time to parse the info I could see all my personal information. Why is that info less important from prying that have accessed your device or your personal account on your PC? I don?t it it. I think that info is more important, so why isn?t it under the same scrutiny?



    4) Apple has a GUI to turn it on and off, let you choose which apps are using it, and lets you know when it?s being access and has been accessed. Why purpose would it serve to let you manually delete all the old location data? If there is some reason you need to hide your general location then you can wipe your phone but that sounds suspect



    I expected a better set of arguments from you.



    1) Most of world, outside of a few geeks and techies, knew nothing about this until today. Add me to the list of those who didn't know.



    2) Irrelevant. The concerns over nefariousness of use is not on the part of Apple. I have no clue what point you're trying to make here.



    3) If other things deserve the 'same scrutiny,' sure, bring it up. Don't conflate issues with a lame argument along the lines of 'I am doing X which is wrong and no one rapped my knuckles, so why are they rapping my knuckles when doing Y, which is no different from X'. Perhaps both need to be addressed.



    4) The GUI option seems like an all or nothing proposition. In any event, there would be no harm in Apple allowing a user to manage this. Indeed, one would assume that should be the default.



    I predict lots of governments are going to be all over this. Lots of people might be doing it (a la the signal fade issue), but Apple will take it on the chin. That is the price of success. Better to get in front of it.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    I expected a better set of arguments from you.



    1) Most of world, outside of a few geeks and techies, knew nothing about this until today. Add me to the list of those who didn't know.



    Most still don’t know and even less care.



    Quote:

    2) Irrelevant. The concerns over nefariousness of use is not on the part of Apple. I have no clue what point you're trying to make here.



    My point should be clear. People claim Apple is surely tracking your data for some evil reason. I asked if they really wanted to do this why would they keep it unencrypted?



    Quote:

    3) If other things deserve the 'same scrutiny,' sure, bring it up. Don't conflate issues with a lame argument along the lines of 'I am doing X which is wrong and no one rapped my knuckles, so why are they rapping my knuckles when doing Y, which is no different from X'. Perhaps both need to be addressed.



    As previously stated it has a reason to exist and other mobile OSes use them. That doesn’t make it right because others are doing t but it could make you wonder if there is a reason why this would be useful for a cell connected device. I wager the answer isn’t scandalous in any way, shape or form.



    Tell me why you are fine with all that other data in ~/Library not being encrypted? You have mail, and attachments you think you deleted, you have 3rd-party app data, Safari history and cached pages, calendar, address book and all sort of other info. If you let someone get into you system that you’re fault. At least with iPhone backups can be encrypted.



    Quote:

    4) The GUI option seems like an all or nothing proposition. In any event, there would be no harm in Apple allowing a user to manage this. Indeed, one would assume that should be the default.



    No, you can turn off Location Services for select apps.



    Quote:

    I predict lots of governments are going to be all over this. Lots of people might be doing it (a la the signal fade issue), but Apple will take it on the chin. That is the price of success. Better to get in front of it.



    I agree with “getting in front of it.” Any bad press quickly gets blown out of proportion when it comes to Apple, just like the external antenna of the iPhone 4.
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 16,830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Most still don?t know and even less care.

    .



    Hmmm. I heard it on NBC Nighlty News, CBS Evening News, NPR ATC, and APM's Marketplace. I guess 'most people' must not watch or listen to this stuff.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    My point should be clear.



    The fact that your point is 'clear' had little to do with the questions it was responding to.



    I could tell you that it was windy today where I live. The point is clear, but you'd agree it's irrelevant vis-a-vis what you're trying to say.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post






    As previously stated it has a reason to exist and other mobile OSes use them......



    Tell me why you are fine with all that other data in ~/Library not being encrypted?....





    No, you can turn off .....



    These are non-sequitirs. You're talking to yourself, and pretending you're having a conversation. You have not addressed a very simple issue I brought up: why Apple cannot let a user manage this. It's not rocket science.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Most still don?t know and even less care.

    ......

    I agree with ?getting in front of it.? Any bad press quickly gets blown out of proportion when it comes to Apple, just like the external antenna of the iPhone 4.



    You just contradicted yourself, between your first sentence and last.



    Got to call it a night. I've got a long day tomorrow. You can continue the conversation if you wish, but I have no further interest.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    You have not addressed a very simple issue I brought up: why Apple cannot let a user manage this. It's not rocket science.



    It’s a BS question. You’ve made the assumption that Apple can’t do this yet you haven’t addressed why they should let a user manually delete this particular cached data, why this database has no useful function on the phone, or why this data is more detrimental to a user than all the other visible data that exists in their system.



    Read Pogue’s article for a view that isn’t written like the sky is falling.
  • paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,367member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Cmon, guys, cut the sarcasm. Whether or not a Senator is the one asking-- frankly, who cares -- Apple darn well has a duty to answer what seems like a very reasonable bunch of questions that lots of people are asking.



    Taking refuge in 'but everybody does it' is simply lame, and you know it. If that logic were applied across the board, Apple would be no different from from 'everybody' -- i.e., it wouldn't be Apple. I hold the company to a higher standard.



    Someone senior from Apple should just come out and clarify immediately, and get it out of the way. I can bet that the EU, in particular, is going to be all over this in 24 hours. They take their privacy very seriously over there (unlike here in the US.)



    This is Cook's first public PR crisis. Let's see how he handles it.



    You're absolutely right. People here need to ask themselves the question, "if this had been done by Google or Microsoft, what would my reaction have been?"



    Apple have questions to answer here.
  • solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post


    You're absolutely right. People here need to ask themselves the question, "if this had been done by Google or Microsoft, what would my reaction have been?"



    Apple have questions to answer here.



    It?s already been noted that Google has done with Android.
    After this was exposed then the argument became ?two wrongs don?t make a right? but where is the evidence that this file file has no valid use or that the info gets sent to Apple. IOW, people are overreacting.



    Al Franken?s questions are good. I?d like to know for the sake of knowing but I don?t think it?s some ?OMG I can?t believe Apple is doing this? scenario and I won?t lose sleep thinking this file over all others is holding me hostage in a police state supported by Apple.
  • ian.waringian.waring Posts: 8member
    I'd lay odds that any SatNav device has the same feature. I worked for one such vendor in the past and it was fairly routine for folks recovering a lost device to see exactly where it'd been in the previous 3 months. Only 3Mb of memory in the unit but enough room to even work out the driving speed every few seconds over that period.
  • thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yvo84 View Post


    Apple made headline news in Australia, i assume they're getting bad press all around the world.



    Made headline news here in Germany as well... and it is still being categorized and headlined as an Apple -specific flaw... EVEN THOUGH all of the experts have weighed in to say it is the same with any and all "smart phones"... and specifically Android being the worst at saving, using, and SELLING privat information.



    We have some pretty tight data privacy laws here, so it would be advised that Apple send out a quick update as soon as possible (like the one from Cydia) to avoid any unnecessary court-hearings and assorted troubles.
  • macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    How can they be sure his father or someone else didn’t do the FB update? How can they be sure he didn’t write a script that will update his FB status from his father’s computer at a particular time? How do they do he didn’t have an app phone with a VNC app that could access his father’s computer right before or after the robbery?



    Dang it solipsism, how are the rest of us going to use that method to commit the perfect crime if you are giving it away? Now a simple google search will find this page and ruin it for the rest of us.



    Actually it would be even simpler than if you were planning a crime - just have an accomplice sitting at your desk at home.



    Maybe now facebook will require you use a fingerprint scanner or take a photo of yourself to authenticate your identity and location when posting.
  • lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by amxam View Post


    I think its great that the U.S. Government is concerned about the products we buy like the lead paint from china and don't worry about the clean water act. There are people, PEOPLE being tracked with a smart phone!



    I think they really are not worried about the people or customers. Most of the government uses iOS devices so I feel they are more concerned that their actions and movements can be tracked. Because they lack the technology intelligence to shut it off the service for themselves they have to protect "The People" because we all know the government is looking out for our best interest.



    ... and hey when all else fails, divert attention from the big problems like our entire congress acts with an attitude of that of a 6 year old. Good Job Al. Go back to writing Jack Handy poems.



    That might be an interesting wikileak - hundreds of government officials who sync their iOS devices to their computer which gets backed up to a central server - archived to tape - and a cartridge that is not encrypted goes missing - someone plots all the data contained therein - which includes text messages etc - and finds the senator from this state spends an hour a week at that brothel - and the congressman from that state spends 4 hours a week at the horse track - etc.
  • lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by twoslick View Post


    I downloaded the app to check out my own phone's data. I can tell you now that there is nothing precise about the locations stored in there. So many of the stories make it sound like the phone is tracking your every movement. In fact it is not.



    I even downloaded the app source code and modified it to show a more detailed view of the plotted points. There were many points listed that I know for a fact I was nowhere near. My phone spends about 14 hours a day in my house. You know how many points were at my house? ZERO. The closest point was about a half mile away.



    While I think Apple should be more careful when caching data like this, I also think the story has been WAY overblown.



    I wish corrupt politicians like Al Franken would spend more time cleaning up government than jumping on the 'freak out' bandwagon.



    The data is not the location of your phone but rather the location of the cell tower which provided service to your phone - mine is weird - i spent about two days in Chicago and the iPhoneTracker heat map for that location shows a much larger blob that my home - near my home has way more data points - but they are spread out - I also have no data points at my house - could be that I use wireless rather than 3G at home - though I do have a MicroCell - on the other hand I generally don't use the GPS functions to find my house while I am in it - though it is the starting point for a number of GPS guided journeys.



    My time in Canada is not listed - wonder why?
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