Location tracking probe expands despite 2001 FCC law requiring all phones track users

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  • Reply 41 of 145
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Which would be why they're having Congressional hearings on the matter?



    Congressional hearings happen because Congressmen (and the occasional congresswoman), need to appear to be doing things and if it's something non-political that they can be a "champion of the people" on, mores the better. This kind of issue is perfect for them, I'm only disappointed that Al Franken would stoop so low or be so stupid. He's generally a smart and honest guy.



    Even if sometimes Congressional committees are actually doing the right thing, the main impetus for them doing it is still publicity.
  • Reply 42 of 145
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Balderdash.



    Your leaving out the most important part of the accusation which is *who* is collecting the data.



    The headlines read "Apple collecting data." Your own phone keeping a log of your own location is (technically) you collecting data on yourself. It is not "collecting data" in the sense of Apple collecting data or in any of the senses meant by the author of this piece, the politicos demanding information, or any of the newspaper stories on the subject.



    Keeping a log of data in your phone is not in any way the same thing as "collecting data" as it's used in this story.



    I'd hazard a guess that Congress would disagree with you on that. Apple has already submitted a statement to Congress about how they collect and use data. Using the interpretation of "collect data" that I'm using (a pretty normal usage, btw), the statement Apple submitted to Congress is demonstrably false.



    Which explains why Congress is asking Apple to testify again. Their prior statements, which have been entered into the Congressional record, are false and clarification and/or correction is needed.
  • Reply 43 of 145
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    I'd hazard a guess that Congress would disagree with you on that. Apple has already submitted a statement to Congress about how they collect and use data. Using the interpretation of "collect data" that I'm using (a pretty normal usage, btw), the statement Apple submitted to Congress is demonstrably false.



    Which explains why Congress is asking Apple to testify again. Their prior statements, which have been entered into the Congressional record, are false and clarification and/or correction is needed.



    So are you arguing that it doesn't matter whether the data are transmitted to Apple rather than just kept on your phone/computer, or that what matters right now is to determine what is transmitted to Apple?



    I would agree that even though these are not accurate phone location data, it would be nice to know whether they are being shared with Apple, and if so, whether they are anonymized in the process or not.
  • Reply 44 of 145
    sumjuansumjuan Posts: 27member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    ...speaking as an small iPhone developer...





    This is something That I doubt. Seriously.
  • Reply 45 of 145
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    So are you arguing that it doesn't matter whether the data are transmitted to Apple rather than just kept on your phone/computer, or that what matters right now is to determine what is transmitted to Apple?



    I would agree that even though these are not accurate phone location data, it would be nice to know whether they are being shared with Apple, and if so, whether they are anonymized in the process or not.



    I am not a lawyer, so take my legal speculation with a grain of salt. That said, I think Congress must ensure that the testimony it is given is correct, and that's what they're trying to do with these hearings.



    From my own personal standpoint, I want to know Apple's policies for collecting, transmitting, storing, using, and sharing location data and other personal information.



    I already think storing a history of location information in unencrypted form is bad policy and should be re-thought. I'm also aware that the fact this is being done was announced by a 3rd party not affiliated with Apple. So I'd like to hear from Apple what their policies are, not from a couple of guys on the internet.



    Once I know what their policies are, then I can say I agree or I don't.
  • Reply 46 of 145
    In 2002 I was forced to throw away two great, and virtually new, Motorola StarTac cell phones because the FCC would not allow renewal if they didn't have GPS recording.

    And, for an additional FCC bit of stupidity, have you ever wanted to get an area TV station but the provider(Cable or Dish) told you it wasn't offered?

    Well blame the FCC for a 400 page document (of every county of every state in the US ) that lists the TV channels that can ONLY be viewed by each county's residents. Those TV signal dividing lines are FCC mandated and based on strictly political divisions. By the way, our tax dollars paid for that very expensive nationwide Neilson survey that generated the TV document so you can not have freedom of choice when viewing and, of course, our Taxes pay for the FCC make work bureau as well.
  • Reply 47 of 145
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    Well, as I understand it, the purpose of the hearings is to determine how this data is being used. Congress has not accused either Apple nor Google of wrong-doing, but rather they are seeking clarity on the policies.



    In the case of Apple, this data isn't covered by section 4B of their iPhone EULA because you can not turn off the collection process. Additionally, they've provided no reason why they would need an un-ending history of your movements, and the policy of making the data backups for this type of data unencrypted by default seems to be poorly thought out. It allows people other than Apple and its partners access to the data.



    So, to me, this seems like a needed exercise. Explain to the public why this data is being collected and exactly how it's being used and who else, other than Apple and it's partners, is allowed to use it. Then fix any bugs and correct any poorly thought out policies.



    Except that this was explained a year ago to Congress by Apple. This isn't something new, or something that they don't already know. Apple stated that it was for the purpose of building up a map of Cell towers, as other cell providers are doing. It's to aid the purpose of knowing where people in general are going so as to find the most needed places for transmitters.



    It was made plenty clear. Why the database in the phone holds such old data, I don't know, but as that data is being collected every 12 hours, it can be kept forever anyway, so I don't see the big deal here. As it can also easily be encrypted, it's not something that's being collected no matter what. If someone doesn't want others to see it, they can encrypt their data backups.



    What I consider far more invidious is what Eric Schmitt said several times in speeches about Google's intentions, which is something being forgotten in this situation. He, quite baldly, said that that someday Google would know more about you than you do about yourself, and that they would make decisions for you before you knew you would want to make them. Now, THAT worries me!



    I don't recall Apple ever indicating, at any time, that something like that was in their sights.
  • Reply 48 of 145
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by magicj View Post


    From my own personal standpoint, I want to know Apple's policies for collecting, transmitting, storing, using, and sharing location data and other personal information.



    That seems completely reasonable. I think that where this issue is escalating out of all proportion is in the detail of the inaccurate assertions that are appearing in the media regarding the nature of the data and the unverified assertions that they are being transmitted to Apple.
  • Reply 49 of 145
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Except that this w as explained a year ago to Congress by Apple. This isn't something new, or something that they don't already know. Apple stated that it was for the purpose of building up a map of Cell towers, as other cell providers are doing. It's to aid the purpose of knowing where people in general are going so as to find the most needed places for transmitters.



    It was made plenty clear. Why the database in the phone holds such o,d data, I don't know, but as that data is being collected every 12 hours, it can be kept forever anyway, so I don't see the big deal here. As it can also easily be encrypted, it's not something that's being collected no matter what. If someone doesn't want others to see it, they can encrypt their data backups.



    What I consider far more invidious is what Eric Schmitt said several times in speeches about Google's intentions, which is something being forgotten in this situation. He, quite baldly, said that that someday Google would know more about you than you do about yourself, and that they would make decisions for you before you knew you would want to make them. Now, THAT worries me!



    I don't recall Apple ever indicating, at any time, that something like that was in their sights.



    You stated previously in post 18 that these data are transmitted to Apple every 12 hours, and another poster commented that this information seemed inconsistent with most other reports. Do you have a source or reference for that?
  • Reply 50 of 145
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I've been following this story rather closely, and there hasn't been any info yet that I've seen which would indicate Apple ever downloads your location data.



    If you're going to throw 100% of the blame on Apple, the onus is on you to reference the data and tell us where you got this tidbit of information from.



    Apple stated this at one point a year or so ago when they testified before Congress about this and other matters.



    I'm not "accusing" Apple of anything. Accusing them would indicate that I'm saying they're doing something wrong, which I'm not.
  • Reply 51 of 145
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Except that this was explained a year ago to Congress by Apple.



    Well, no. Apple submitted a statement to Congress, yes, but the usage of "consolidated.db" seems to fall outside the usage of data as explained in Apple's statement to Congress. And so it seems some clarification/correction is in order.



    Anyway, it's important to recognize that the Congressional hearing is not a trial. It's intent is to gather information as a follow-up to previous statements.
  • Reply 52 of 145
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    How many times must this rehashed? The log is kept on your device and in your iTunes folder backup for your device for the very reason one wold expect your phone to know your location on a cellular network. Consolidated.db is not sent to Apple. They are not tracking you.



    The only things sent to Apple are zipcodes that are not tied to a device or a user. This is a separate issue from the consolidated.db and was dealt with almost a year ago in both a change in the privacy policy and a letter to a senator explaining all this.



    Apple does collect location data, but it's consolidated data, which isn't identified by phone or user. Apple already stated that it's for the purpose of building up cell tower maps. This is something that's done deliberately. It's not a problem because it's anonymised.
  • Reply 53 of 145
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


    Only complete morons think this is an issue. My god, my phone is collecting and storing my personal information and only on my own personal devices which I control! Oh, that's right, it's my email, contacts, personal documents, calendar, etc. etc. etc.



    Idiots abound!



    Hell ya!



    Apps can't see the data and if someone accesses my computer or gets hold of my phone, my location history will be the least of my worries.



    That said, I can't wait to see a murder solve on Law and Order because their cell phone's location history was tracked. Oh wait! It's already been done; only the data came from the carrier.



    Can we get over this now and move on?
  • Reply 54 of 145
    Let's see what this location tracking is all about until the hearing on May 10th. I agree that privacy is an important concern here and lets not hope the facts does not otherwise prove that. Logging data and what its use. However, most of us, fellow readers, including myself, reads the title and create our own context based on the headline and all fingers points the blame to Apple. Sad to know that this issue has blown out of proportion. Its a good article. It caught everyone's attention. It created this havoc in the mobile industry. Good for those two internet guys - you made yourself an overnight sensation! Now what? I'm hoping that Apple knows that there's a thin line in privacy that they're not doing the data logs for other purposes rather than it just sits there in consolidated.db - Congress will not like these location tracking because they're not a big fan of their location being known, at any time.



    Now back to the economy - Home Sales are up! Apple stock is down because of this. Now, when the party dies, the stock will come up again!!! All this negativity brought the AAPL stock down today. Stop pointing the blame to Apple - its the smart phone industry in general.



    (Patiently waiting for the iPhone White release).



    Happy Tuesday Everyone!
  • Reply 55 of 145
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    You stated previously in post 18 that these data are transmitted to Apple every 12 hours, and another poster commented that this information seemed inconsistent with most other reports. Do you have a source or reference for that?



    If I can find it again.



    I can't find that particular article now, but Apple's response to Congress in this letter should help to show what it gets transmitted from our phones, when it's transmitted, and why.



    Most relevant info begins at the bottom of page 5 part C -Location based information. You'll notice that some info is sent when location services are turned on, and agreed to, and some is sent when using GPS of WiFi, whenever they are used. Apple is pretty explicit about this, and if you read it carefully, you will understand what's happening. They don't mention the consolidated.db file, I would assume, because they were being asked about what was being transmitted, not for what was being saved.



    http://markey.house.gov/docs/applema...ton7-12-10.pdf
  • Reply 56 of 145
    By the way ... my computer is readily available for location tracking ... so should the PC market also be brought in all this hearings??? It's my home where I sleep - now that's privacy!
  • Reply 57 of 145
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    I'm not bothered about whether my phone stores data about where I go. What I am bothered about is that when Apple is asked what data their phone stores, there is a huge silence and no comment from the company, but when Google is asked the same question they give a prompt and clear reply.



    What does Apple have to hide?



    Apple has nothing to hide. But they are probably being advised by their lawyers not to address the issue via a press release now that there is a law suit, the hearing etc. Because the blogs etc will hack a press release apart as lying, spin etc. But if the courts and/or the government examine the issue and are satisfied that Apple is not receiving this list or any other data of concern then at least some of the public will be satisfied that the issue is nothing to gross about
  • Reply 58 of 145
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    If I can find it again.



    If this is the statement to which you refer, then it appears to state that the cell tower and wifi data contained within consolidated.db may be transmitted to Apple if:
    1. The location services option is ON and,

    2. The user launches an app that requests location services.

  • Reply 59 of 145
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    If this is the statement to which you refer, then it appears to state that the cell tower and wifi data contained within consolidated.db may be transmitted to Apple if:
    1. The location services option is ON and,

    2. The user launches an app that requests location services.




    And there is no device or user data sent and all lat/long locations are converted to a zipcode and then immediately deleted.



    Surely people expect apps that you allow know your device?s specific location will know your general location.
  • Reply 60 of 145
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    If this is the statement to which you refer, then it appears to state that the cell tower and wifi data contained within consolidated.db may be transmitted to Apple if:
    1. The location services option is ON and,

    2. The user launches an app that requests location services.




    The problem is "consolidated.db" doesn't operate in accordance with the policies defined in that document. The user cannot turn it off and the data it stores is kept forever. Even if you get a new phone, the old data is copied to the new phone via iTunes.
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