Apple Says It Isn’t Tracking You…. Yeah Right

After an extended, but not surprising silence, Apple finally had something to say about the tracking circus that has been circulating around the Internet:

The data, downloaded from Apple, help the phone figure out its location without having to listen for faint signals from GPS satellites. That means navigation applications can present the phone’s location faster and more accurately, Apple said.

Apple said the data are stored for up to a year because of a software error. The company said there’s no need to store data for more than seven days, and a software update in the next few weeks will limit the amount of data in that file.

The iPhone will also stop backing up the file to the user’s computer, a practice that raised some concerns. Computers are much more vulnerable to remote hacking attempts than are phones.

A third planned fix is to stop downloading the data to phones that have all “Location Services” turned off, Apple said, and to encrypt the file on those where it’s on.

“Users are confused, partly because creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date,” Apple said in its statement.

You’ll excuse me if I don’t exactly buy the fact that this was an error. Seeing as there’s a patent floating around that implies that they have plans for that data. But we’ll see.

In a way, Apple has become Big Brother. It is ironic if you remember their commercial from the 1984 Superbowl that they used to introduce the original Macintosh which featured a woman in red shorts smashing a hammer into image of Big Brother on a giant TV screen. Now Steve Jobs is Big Brother and his iPhone users the drones in the audience. While I have said previously that you do agree to this when you use an iPhone, I don’t think that you agree to something where this sort of data is unencrypted so that who knows what happens to it.

This is really a #fail for Apple to quote Jack Layton.

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