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European Union may place tougher privacy restrictions on Apple

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
A new statement from the European Union could lead to greater restrictions on the handling of location data on mobile devices for companies like Apple and Google.

EU privacy officials published a nonbinding opinion this week stating that users must be given "clear, comprehensive" information about location data, according to Bloomberg. The opinion comes as data protection officials in Europe continue to investigate the iPhone location services controversy that recently erupted.

The new EU opinion states that information collected through Wi-Fi and location services is considered "personal data." Such a classification would make the data subject to EU privacy rules.

The opinion came from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, and though it is nonbinding, experts said it could lead to sanctions on companies like Apple and Google.

When asked for a comment on the opinion, Apple declined to comment. A Google spokesperson said the company is reviewing the paper, but added that the search giant cannot identify anyone using Wi-Fi header information. "Nor would we want to," said spokesman Al Verney.

Privacy concerns related to mobile devices came to light when a pair of security researchers discovered that Apple's iOS 4 mobile operating system recorded location data and saved it in a hidden file unbeknownst to users. That data was never transmitted to anyone, and the issue was quickly addressed with the release of iOS 4.3.3.



Both Apple and Google took part in a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing earlier this month, in which Apple's vice president of software technology, Guy L. "Bud" Tribble, asserted that user privacy is one of his company's highest priorities. He explained that Apple has a crowd-sourced collection of cell phone towers and Wi-Fi hotspots that aid in allowing users' iPhones to assess their location quickly, before a GPS signal can be obtained.

Apple also issued a series of answers about the controversy, and Chief Executive Steve Jobs himself participated in interviews in an attempt to ease concerns. But Apple still faces government investigations on iPhone privacy across the globe, including in France, Germany and Italy.
post #2 of 18
I wish the US government would rescind the regulation that requires cell phone makers to give them the ability to turn on someones phone remotely. The only way to keep your phone off deliberately is to remove the battery. Unfortunately not all phones have removable batteries.

I'm all for total digital privacy. I think that nobody should be allowed to collect any data about me unless I specifically give them permission to do it. As it is many companies just say agree to our policy or you can't use our product. Some things like phones are so ubiquitous that people don't have alternatives and must be forced into such agreements.
post #3 of 18
Way to go EU!!
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post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

I'm all for total digital privacy. I think that nobody should be allowed to collect any data about me unless I specifically give them permission to do it. As it is many companies just say agree to our policy or you can't use our product. Some things like phones are so ubiquitous that people don't have alternatives and must be forced into such agreements.

I think that if you enter the digital world (and very few stateside aren't), you lose some degree of privacy immediately. If you're some suspect I'm looking for, you better believe you have no privacy. I personally don't care for privacy. I want to know exactly what you're doing at all times. But that's just me and a few others.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I think that if you enter the digital world (and very few stateside aren't), you lose some degree of privacy immediately. If you're some suspect I'm looking for, you better believe you have no privacy. I personally don't care for privacy. I want to know exactly what you're doing at all times. But that's just me and a few others.

Then use your real name when you post.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

I wish the US government would rescind the regulation that requires cell phone makers to give them the ability to turn on someones phone remotely. The only way to keep your phone off deliberately is to remove the battery. Unfortunately not all phones have removable batteries.

I'm all for total digital privacy. I think that nobody should be allowed to collect any data about me unless I specifically give them permission to do it. As it is many companies just say agree to our policy or you can't use our product. Some things like phones are so ubiquitous that people don't have alternatives and must be forced into such agreements.


You could remove the sim card. If you want to be part of society you have to give up some of your privacy. Otherwise you end up living like a fugitive with no phone, Internet, credit card, loans, drivers license, home address, school, property, insurance, job, wife, children, etc. You must have something really serious to hide to give up all of the beneficial things that living free here in the US provides.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

I wish the US government would rescind the regulation that requires cell phone makers to give them the ability to turn on someones phone remotely. The only way to keep your phone off deliberately is to remove the battery. Unfortunately not all phones have removable batteries. ...

I agree about that law, but if you live in the USA you have more to worry about than simple tracking or turning your cell phone into a secret microphone once in a while.

The fact is that in the USA (and all communications that go through US servers), the US Government "taps" and records *all* cellphone traffic and *all* email traffic on a daily basis. It may sound like just another crazy conspiracy theory but it's been copiously documented by some of the most reputable news outlets. You, (in fact most of us), are already being "bugged" on a daily basis.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I agree about that law, but if you live in the USA you have more to worry about than simple tracking or turning your cell phone into a secret microphone once in a while.

If you own a late model car that has emergency communications service such as OnStar (my BMW has some other similar service as well) the police can also activate that microphone. Fortunately I have nothing to hide and don't plan on breaking any laws.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I agree about that law, but if you live in the USA you have more to worry about than simple tracking or turning your cell phone into a secret microphone once in a while.

The fact is that in the USA (and all communications that go through US servers), the US Government "taps" and records *all* cellphone traffic and *all* email traffic on a daily basis. It may sound like just another crazy conspiracy theory but it's been copiously documented by some of the most reputable news outlets. You, (in fact most of us), are already being "bugged" on a daily basis.

The same government that's trying to protect citizens from their cell phones spying on them is using the same to spy on it's citizens? Huh?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I personally don't care for privacy. I want to know exactly what you're doing at all times. But that's just me and a few others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

Then use your real name when you post.

No reason to stop there. He/she should also post his/her address, phone number, birthday and social security number. But of course he/she won't do that because in fact he/she DOES care for privacy, and the comment above is bullshit.

The notion that "I don't have anything to hide, so I don't need privacy" has been proven to be a big fat lie that ignorant people pop up with when they don't agree with your privacy preferences. The truth is that everyone values their privacy at some level, it just varies from person to person how much info they want to share, and with whom.
No Matte == No Sale :-(
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No Matte == No Sale :-(
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post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

No reason to stop there. He/she should also post his/her address, phone number, birthday and social security number. But of course he/she won't do that because in fact he/she DOES care for privacy, and the comment above is bullshit.

The notion that "I don't have anything to hide, so I don't need privacy" has been proven to be a big fat lie that ignorant people pop up with when they don't agree with your privacy preferences. The truth is that everyone values their privacy at some level, it just varies from person to person how much info they want to share, and with whom.

Well sure, you are right to a degree. I think the clarification is that we have nothing to hide from the police or authorities who we trust. We certainly don't trust spammers, identity thieves, Google, etc.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #12 of 18
Agree, thats just grandstanding nonsense. Privacy in the digital age is even more important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

No reason to stop there. He/she should also post his/her address, phone number, birthday and social security number. But of course he/she won't do that because in fact he/she DOES care for privacy, and the comment above is bullshit.

The notion that "I don't have anything to hide, so I don't need privacy" has been proven to be a big fat lie that ignorant people pop up with when they don't agree with your privacy preferences. The truth is that everyone values their privacy at some level, it just varies from person to person how much info they want to share, and with whom.
post #13 of 18
The location cache issue was fixed quick smart, and that was just by the power of bad publicity. I don't think any new laws are needed.
post #14 of 18
I don't think Apple will care what the EU does about privacy just as long as it's not singles out. Google on the other hand, well. Hell is they can do it without looking bad, Apple should be pushing for more privacy both in the EU and the states, it can only give them a competative advantage against those who rely on personal information to pay the bills.
post #15 of 18
How does the A-GPS work on Nokia phones?

I had a customer bring in an Android phone complaining the maps didn't work (they didn't) as he had not turned Google's location services on, turning them on made the maps work.

Life is a series of trade-offs.
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post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Well sure, you are right to a degree. I think the clarification is that we have nothing to hide from the police or authorities who we trust. We certainly don't trust spammers, identity thieves, Google, etc.

The whole point of the matter is that the police and government can't be trusted. Over and over it is proven that they abuse their positions to the detriment of the citizens.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The fact is that in the USA (and all communications that go through US servers), the US Government "taps" and records *all* cellphone traffic and *all* email traffic on a daily basis. It may sound like just another crazy conspiracy theory but it's been copiously documented by some of the most reputable news outlets. You, (in fact most of us), are already being "bugged" on a daily basis.

One of the minute advantages of living where I am is the government is too incompetent to bug and monitor everything, let alone take action. They only crackdown on bloggers, newspapers and opposition party members. Facebook, email and web forums are pretty much mostly anti-government. The dichotomy would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

If you own a late model car that has emergency communications service such as OnStar (my BMW has some other similar service as well) the police can also activate that microphone. Fortunately I have nothing to hide and don't plan on breaking any laws.

Does it notify you when the microphone comes on? If not, boy, is that messed up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Well sure, you are right to a degree. I think the clarification is that we have nothing to hide from the police or authorities who we trust. We certainly don't trust spammers, identity thieves, Google, etc.

Sadly, there are many countries (even in the US and Europe, though much less blatantly) where the police, authorities and government are not to be trusted.
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