Privacy Change: Apple Knows Where Your Phone Is And Is Telling People

Apple updated its privacy policy today, with an important, and dare we say creepy new paragraph about location information. If you agree to the changes, (which you must do in order to download anything via the iTunes store) you agree to let Apple collect store and share “precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.”

Apple says that the data is “collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you,” but for some reason we don’t find this very comforting at all. There appears to be no way to opt-out of this data collection without giving up the ability to download apps.

Here’s the full text:

Location-Based Services

To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.

Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.


Privacy Policy [Apple via Mashable]

Comments

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  1. bror says:

    Doesn’t this just mean that the yelp app can send my location to yelp so that I can get localized information? How on earth would it work otherwise?

    • strathmeyer says:

      Yes, but why should my phone send information to Yelp if I don’t use Yelp? Think about it.

      I guess this is just a part of the “people dumb enough to own an iPhone” craze.

      • The Queen of Everything says:

        Yelp only asks for location information if you use Yelp. You can choose to deny it.

      • jiubreyn says:

        Is it really necessary to include “people dumb enough to own an iPhone” ? It’s not like you don’t have a choice, you have the option to disable location services. Furthermore, this is no different than Facebook. Are you going to say “people dumb enough to use Facebook..”?

        • Jaynor says:

          Starting with the I-Phone Apple’s policies have been visibly scary and anti-consumer. I think it really is “people dumb enough to own an I-phone” at this point.

        • sonneillon says:

          I might, I don’t like facebook for that and other reasons. I do not think I would be so crass though.

      • steeroy says:

        I’m weeping for the lost art of reading comprehension. Ok, everyone, go back and read the policy. Read it 2 or 3 more times.

        Where does it say they can collect your location without your permission? Where does it say they can pass it to third parties without your knowledge? Where does it say it constantly updates anyone with your location? Where does it say they can keep records of your location or use it for advertising?

        The policy says that IF you want to use a service that needs to know your location to work, THEN your iPhone will have to tell the service provider where you are (duh). It says that and only that.

    • Griking says:

      And local weather, news and traffic updates. How is this really any different from being on a home computer where a website can identify approximately where you are based on your IP address?

  2. Rachacha says:

    Location based advertising coming soon to the iPhone.

    You are walking down the street, and a message pops up “Hungry? Why not try Friendly’s new artery clogging Cheeseburger just 50 feet ahead on your left.”

  3. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    Creepy is a strong word..

    (**pauses while imagination runs wild**)

    Yeah I agree. Creepy as hell.

  4. Hank Scorpio says:

    This is really just more clearly explaining the location based services that they’ve had for a while. Every app that I’ve used that uses location asks you if you want to allow it to use your location.

    This is no big deal. Stop freaking out, people.

    • DanRydell says:

      Yeah, that’s what it sounds like… It may or may not also be used for advertising, but if I’m going to be viewing ads I really don’t mind if the ads are tailored to my geographic location.

    • mythago says:

      A specific app asking you “can I share this location data?” is way different than Apple making the decision for you, particularly if you’re not using it on a mobile device.

      • seaanemoneman says:

        Not really. This is really just Apple warning you ahead of time that if you opt in to a particular app’s localization features, it means these enumerated things.

        • Preyfar says:

          And how many people read overly long, convoluted EULAs? A simple prompted = good. Burying that information in a giant legal document nobody reads = bad.

    • Ziggie says:

      Agree… With all the hysteria surrounding Facebook, Apple’s just being careful to clarify for consumers what is going on when they use these different applications. It’s a way for Apple to cover itself and protect against the consumers who feign outrage when they realize that in order to get personalized Yelp recommendations they have to give up their location.

      • kylere1 says:

        Identifying the decision to reveal data that before had been marked as private is not hysteria, but I can tell you never actually understood what the problem was with FB.

        • OletheaEurystheus says:

          the problem with facebook is people like you who think that anything you put on the internet should be private.

          As someone who works in the IT field, let me be very clear to you

          ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ON THE INTERNET IS PRIVATE. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

          You remember that, and you will do perfectly fine. But even your secure banking transactions are NOT private.

          • BomanTheBear says:

            No, the problem with Facebook is Facebook misrepresenting itself and downplaying the gravity of completely open information. Yes, everyone on this site knows nothing on the internet is sacred. But in general, most people don’t know that when they upload a picture of themself on Facebook. Especially when the site defaults everyone’s settings to wide open every time it changes them. The site is rife with shady ethics and trickery. THAT’s my problem with it.

            • DanRydell says:

              Part of the controversy over Facebook stemmed from a lot of people misunderstanding what was going on or even misrepresenting it. For instance when Facebook took everything in your profile and gave you the option to turn it into pages or remove it, they turned a useless feature into a more useful feature. And they did not compromise your privacy, because you were given the opportunity to select which entries would be converted to pages before anything happened.

              There was another incident where Facebook was widely misreported as giving away personal data when you click on ads. What was happening was your browser sends the referring page URL to a webserver when you navigate to a web page, so the advertiser’s site can tell where their traffic is coming from. The problem was that Facebook URLs sometimes contain usernames or user IDs, and if an advertiser wanted to they could view the public profile information for that user. Here’s the thing though – the user ID they would get would be the one from the page on which the ad was viewed, which usually is not the user ID of the person who viewed the ad. How often do you view your own profile? How often do you view other people’s profiles? 9 times out of 10 you’d be viewing someone else’s profile (I’m referring to your profile, not your news feed). So this information would be absolutely useless to advertisers. But it was misreported as a grievous breach of privacy.

              Not that Facebook is above reproach, but there has been a lot of misleading reporting about them. Some of it because the author is clueless, and some of it because the author has an agenda.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Isn’t it amazing how nobody seems to mind when Google does this stuff?

      Oh right, that’s because they’re not allowed to be evil. Silly me.

      • ScottCh says:

        You’re flat out wrong. Anyone who has an Android phone can explain the difference.

        When you elect to install an android app, you are presented with a page that shows each kind of data the application needs before you agree to proceed with the installation. If it wants to know your physical location, it’s right there on the page. All you have to do at that point is tap “No” and the app is not installed.

        I think that most objective people would consider this to be different from providing blanket acceptance just by using the Itunes store.

        • rchnash says:

          iPhone apps, even the system apps, request permission to access location data when you launch them. You can disable location sharing at any time for any app even after accepting from the Settings. Furthermore, the phone displays an icon in the status bar showing you that an app is currently using location data. Apple has been very conscientious about making sure you know where your data is going, and when.

          You can actually still use yelp, facebook, etc, and deny the app access to that data. Again: you must actively confirm when the app launches that it is ok for that app to use your location data. It’s very clear, no need to be a techy :-)

          “For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.”

          This is just a writing out what has always been the case, when you allow location based tracking (once again, it asks when you launch the application) your location data is being provided to the app provider.

      • DoktorGoku says:

        Ignoring the fact that Google asks you, each time you download an app, for specific permissions for whatever info the app will use, rather than a blanket permission-

        What does that have to do with anything? When did “B-b-but they do it too!” become a valid defense of anything?

        • someToast says:

          Like when apps on the iPhone ask for your permission when they want access to your location data?

  5. tedyc03 says:

    Uh, really?

    My understanding is that the new iPhone is much more accurate than the last one at determining location via GPS. Since that information is given to Apple for MobileMe’s Find My iPhone function (as well as the AT&T “find your kids” function), they’re simply making it clear they’re going to collect this information. How else would they be able to collect the information for the services people signed up for?

    • mac-phisto says:

      well, i think the difference is that before YOU had the option of deciding who got access to your location data. now apple is saying THEY have the option. whether it matters or not is going to depend on how apple interprets their rights. if they’re assholes about it & sell your data to everyone in the world, that would suck. if they only use it to transmit to company’s you download apps to, then it’s not really a big deal.

      but it seems like your kind of at their mercy once you click OK.

      • mac-phisto says:

        actually, scratch that. i read thru the privacy policy & under “third party yada-yada” it says:

        “Personal information will only be shared by Apple to provide or improve our products, services and advertising; it will not be shared with third parties for their marketing purposes.”

        sounds good enough for me, though keep in mind what apple considers “personal” vs. “non-personal” (for example location is considered non-personal), b/c non-personal data contains this catch-all:

        “We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose.”

        as long as you’re ok with that, this privacy policy isn’t really a big deal.

        • mythago says:

          Which is to say that Apple will happily sell ‘anonymous’ and ‘aggregate’ data to anyone and everyone, whereas your personal data will only be exploited by its own marketing department.

          • mac-phisto says:

            exactly, but that’s status quo with any company you choose to do business with. this is a pretty standard privacy policy. for example, everybody loves zappos right? check out their privacy policy for comparison: http://www.zappos.com/privacy-policy

            “We may internally use your personal information [...] for our own marketing efforts”
            “We may share non-personal information [...] with third parties such as advertising partners.”

        • ooeygooey says:

          This. The real question here is whether your specific/exact location at any given time is personal or non-personal. I vote personal. Very personal in some cases. It is very clearly something that a consumer should be able to opt-out of.

  6. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    So if you downloaded a pirated app/movie/etc. they could technically pin point your location down to the square meter, call you up and suggest you pay them $400 otherwise they will call the police and file charges.
    Oooh boy, there goes my imagination running wild again.

    • guroth says:

      how about if you tweet something derogatory about steve jobs then the apple goon squad pays your house a visit

      or if a crime is committed then the police query apple if any iphones were in the vicinity at the time, and subpoena for the owners information

      • BeFrugalNotCheap says:

        Careful. You just used the key words “subpoena”, “Crime”, “Iphone”, AND “police” in the same text as Steve Jobs.

  7. golddog says:

    Location based services need to know your location. You can still opt out of that in a sense, by not using any apps that require it. Even before this change though and even w/out GPS Apple and AT&T knew who you were and where you were anyway unless you were in an area with just one cell tower.

    I find it a bit disingenuous though for them to say that it’s collected in aggregate/anonymously. If you drill down a bit, all that collected data has IPs and serial #’s or unique IDs attached to it. Which means it can be summoned or released a la AOL circa 2006.

  8. nakkypoo says:

    It would seem that collecting this location data is necessary to some extent so that certain “location-based” features can work.

    I prefer the Android system by where each app must declare what hardware and information it wants access to. This way I know if some silly game is trying to covertly collect my address book and location, etc.

  9. ommpa_loompa says:

    I wish they would tell me where my phone is, I lost it.

    • BeFrugalNotCheap says:

      I’ll give it back however I still have to make some calls to my contacts in Nigeria.

    • bikeoid says:

      AT&T is so greedy – I wish they would tell you in the case of a stolen iPhone, or give the original purchaser the right to brick it until they sell the phone – and transfer “brick rights” via their account to the new purchaser.

  10. H3ion says:

    Wouldn’t the location-based programs work just as well if you contacted them (e.g., Yelp) when you wanted to use that service so that your iPhone would know to turn on the GPS function? Why does the function have to be on all the time? Even my browser lets me surf anonymously. I think Apple is going a bit overboard and becoming the big brother that their 1984 Super Bowl ad tried to paint as evil.

  11. duxup says:

    Doesn’t identify you… except where you live, work… etc.

  12. Minimum says:

    I continue to wonder why anybody buys apple products.

    They keep getting worse and worse.
    If any other company did this, there would be people out front with torches and pitchforks.

    Apple users just turn around bend over and say “give to me again”….

    • mythago says:

      We’ve stopped buying Apple products. I don’t need an iPod that much.

    • kabamm says:

      My Palm Pre uses GPS location, and I’m OK with that. So, no, it’s not only Apple, and I don’t see any torches or pitchforks.

    • bluecoyote says:

      People buy Apple products because they believe they meet their needs the best of a range of available products.

      Which brings me to your second and more mis-informed point: you may be happy to learn Google’s been doing this with Android for awhile, only their TOS is far more vague.

      • grumpskeez says:

        It only takes one to download the free Android SDK to write oneself an app that can toggle that service on the Android phone whenever they want to. If it’s not already available for free somewhere. How’s that working out in Appleland?

        • bluecoyote says:

          Awesome and totally not relevant at all to the point.

          • hansolo247 says:

            But it is.

            If you don’t want to share your location with Google, you change your settings. You still have a smartphone that runs apps.

            If you don’t want to share your location with Apple, they neuter your device. Well, it’s still a phone I guess…on AT&T.

            I’m curious if they will disable Fairplay on the device too. I think they will. That will mean purchased content can no longer be played on that device. The sole benefit of iPhone is that it plays the DRM’d Apple-only iTunes content that no Android user would ever buy (true, their music isn’t DRMd anymore, but it’s still in a non-standard format).

            • someToast says:

              Right. iTunes non-standard music that only plays on iPods, iPhones, iPads, Zunes, Android phones, Blackberries, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Wii, PS3…

              • grumpskeez says:

                Because that’s so much better than DRM free MP3 or FLAC (which plays on my $20 MP3 player).
                ▄██████████████▄▐█▄▄▄▄█▌
                ██████▌▄▌▄▐▐▌███▌▀▀██▀▀
                ████▄█▌▄▌▄▐▐▌▀███▄▄█▌
                ▄▄▄▄▄██████████████▀

        • someToast says:

          It’s already there, in the phone preferences.

          It shows which apps potentially want access to location data (and you can block them individually or turn off access globally). It also shows which of the apps has accessed location data in the last 24 hours.

          So yes, “Appleland” has that covered.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        “People buy Apple products because they believe they meet their needs the best of a range of available products.”

        No they don’t. They buy them because they’re incapable of thinking for themselves, and yearn to express their individuality by doing what the TV tells them to do.

        Period.

    • Eli the Ice Man says:

      BECAUSE OOOOOO PRETTY!!!!

      • hansolo247 says:

        and shiny. and expensive.

        and very limited in what they do.

        You can literally write an app on your computer and run it on Android. You cannot do that with iPhone.

        Well, you can, as long as it is approved and you write it they way they want and it fits their aesthetics and use their approved programming language and doesn’t do something Apple already does and your name isn’t Google and use only iAd for ads.

        • Lewys says:

          and trash your handheld device, and leave it open for exploits and all kinds of fun stuff! Say let’s try that with your vehicle, take the seats out, and put in a nice sofa – much more comfortable. And a beer tap, and a toaster for the pop-tarts? Oh wait, no? why not? It’s fundamentally the same thing right? And make it so it exhausts red smoke when you drive around. What?? why don’t you want to do that? Ahhhh, because you don’t want to have to worry about whether your vehicle works properly or not, hmmmmmmm.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      “I continue to wonder why anybody buys apple products.”

      To paraphrase Einstein: “Only two things are infinite: the universe, and human stupidity. And I’m not so sure about the former.”

      This is just one more blindingly obvious reason why you’re a moron if you purchase Apple products. They are the most anti-consumer consumer products company the world has ever seen.

  13. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Well, after updating to iTouch 4.0, The Splurge seems to think I’m in Seattle, WA. So the joke is on Apple. I keep bouncing from Seatlle to New Jersey.

  14. Michael Belisle says:

    Where is option 3: No, I’m not OK with the change, but I’m Apple’s bitch so I’m going to put up with it?


    Sent from my iPad

  15. Michael Belisle says:

    On further thought, I realize that this is probably how Core Location in Safari 5 tells me that my WiFi access point is inside my house*: my iPad 3G must have told Apple about it. There’s no way I believe a dedicated data collection vehicle drove past my house on the edge of civilization.

    So on the one hand, it sounds scary. On the other hand, making use of the millions of devices out there with GPS and WiFi is the best way to collect the data to make location-based services work. There should be a way to opt out, of course.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      They utilize a company that drives around for a cellular company. So I’m guessing they drive around a lot to judge their signal strength, and probably have some powerful antennas which just suck in signals.

      • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

        I think I saw one of those cars driving around the other day. Had this big-ass antenna on its roof driving down the street. IIRC, Apple uses Skyhook Wireless to gather that wifi data for them so anyone with an iPod touch or iPad that only has Wifi will get hooked into Steve’s latest ploy to sell you to, oh yeah, all those people buying iAds! Ever wonder why v4.0 of the iPod touch firmware update was a free download and not costing $5 or whatever the price of going from v2 to v3 was?

    • Sword_Chucks says:

      You do know your IP address is actually a pretty good identifier of where you are? I can get your IP address and easily find out which city you are in. Beyond that, I am unfamiliar with detailing to a specific location. I can’t imagine it is too hard. Probably your ISP has location data attached to your router or something.

  16. TheHaroldTimes says:

    Damn… I spend 1/2 of my class time on ipod touch wireless. If they snitch on me, Ima go chris brown >:(

  17. The Queen of Everything says:

    Well, now that “Find My iPhone” is free…I consider it quite useful.

    • DH405 says:

      The only thing that’s free is the app to locate the iPhone/iPad that has the $99/yr MobileMe service. The service that will enable you to find your phone is still not free.

      • DoubleEcho says:

        Which is why Find My Droid and Lookout are even awesomer (is that a word?). Both are free and Lookout will help you locate the phone via GPS. It will even make the phone “scream” and/or ring even if the phone is on silent/vibrate.

        • rchnash says:

          In the interest of completeness — Find my iPhone will also allow you to have your phone make noises, even when on silent. Also, passcode lock it, wipe it, post a message on the screen, etc.

      • The Queen of Everything says:

        Yeah, I had that part wrong. I couldn’t actually download the app until today. :x

  18. icruise says:

    This is not what you are making it out to be. They’re simply clarifying that if you choose to allow an application to detect your location, that information will be used anonymously, in a way that can’t identify you. This is actually a *positive* thing, not a sinister loophole.

  19. Shonky McShonk says:

    Fanboy here and I say Steve, give ME the option to share or not share…..

    Was Steve a bank president before this???

    • Veeber says:

      They did. If you turn off location services or turn off the location service for each app.

      Part of the reason for the change is how they handle location services. Each app use to poll the GPS chip itself to find your location. Now they have added a background process which checks your location and the app will request your location from the background process. Therefore Apple is technically providing your location to the 3rd party service.

      You can disable for each app and there is an icon to show which apps have requested your location within the last 24 hours.

      mountains out of mole hills.

    • freshyill says:

      Um, EVERY app including the system apps, has to explicitly ask for your permission to use your location. All this does it tell you WHY and HOW it could potentially be used.

  20. Zagro says:

    The thing is you could OPT in on any app on a request bases or in app settings now they want it all the time O.o why. other than to be nosy

    1984 anyone. hello big brother. … and to think i just bought an ipad.

  21. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Who here remembers the Super Bowl ad from 1984? Remember how Apple was positioning themselves to be the antithesis of Big Brother? How the tide has turned, Chairman Jobs. The irony is just repulsive.

    • bluecoyote says:

      Yeah only not. This is the same thing Android (and any Google service) does, and WebOS isn’t too different.

      • hansolo247 says:

        Again.

        Apple: Share or your phone’s a shiny brick that sometimes makes calls

        Android: Share or share not. Your choice.

  22. shibblegritz says:

    Uh, how is my location-based service app supposed to work without *someone* or *something* having access to my precise location?

    Geez, paranoia strikes deep.

    Go buy a razr and get over it.

    • TornadoRex says:

      By asking for it when it *needs* it. Not by having your phone spitting it out constantly.

      • icruise says:

        And where do you see that Apple will be constantly tracking your location? Honestly, this article is the worst kind of sensationalist BS.

  23. bluecoyote says:

    I’m waiting for the genius who comments they’re going to buy an Android phone after hearing about this news.

    • golddog says:

      At least Android apps are required to tell you exactly what services they’re going to use before you install it. I appreciate being jacked in to the Matrix with full awareness :-)

    • grumpskeez says:

      The person who favors Android over iAnything will more than likely be more intelligent and looking to customize and control instead of being controlled. Enjoy the kool-aid buddy.

      • bluecoyote says:

        So in other words, you go around trolling for Android. Nice. At least Apple gives out real Kool-Aid and not the knockoff.

        • hansolo247 says:

          or is the iPhone a (albeit better) knockoff of a Treo? Or a Windows Mobile/Pocket PC Phone? Or a Blackberry?

        • grumpskeez says:

          Actually I don’t own either. Keep on fanboi’n it up no matter how wrong you are. With each comment you just add further proof that apple fans are but sheep. Actually with you I picture a goose being force fed corn for your fatty liver. At least Steve-o is enjoying a nice plate of Foie gras at your expense. Cheers

  24. Arthur Pennant says:

    I resolved never to buy another apple product after I realized that: My computer, prone to breaking may be covered under Apple Care, but I need to take it to an Apple specialist or ship it to Apple, even for problems that with a PC I could fix myself. It’s a pain in the derrière.

    I still like my MacBook, but everytime I’m tempted to backtrack, Apple reminds me why I made my decision. I feel like Apple is the Microsoft of the 21st century.

    Until recently, iPods wouldn’t play radio. It can now, but my Sansa Clip cost

    Then Apple arbitrarily rejects iPhone apps from the App store, including several by Google, because, you know, it can.

    And the iPad’s strange opposition to Firefox, multitasking, and USB ports further confirm my prejudice.

    • Arthur Pennant says:

      Hmm, it seems like the “< $60, can do more, and doubles as a flash drive.” got stripped out. Presumably the < symbol disappeared because is used in HTML markup (I should’ve previewed), though it’s odd that the rest of the line also vanished.

      • Bripanov says:

        They should be escaping this.

        As for your decision to go PC…why stop at switching out your hardware to generic? The Linux pool is pretty cozy these days. Wubi is a very very low barrier to entry (the “hard disk” for the install is a file on your windows file system – no partitioning or drastic system changes to remove it)

  25. Pax says:

    Well. You hear that flushing sound? That’s the entirety of my interest in EVER owning an iPhone.

    I’ll have to alert my g/f, to see if the same terms (and locatability) apply to her iPod-Touch, too. If it does, I’ll have lost all desire to stick with the iPod line, either.

    Which will be a damned crying shame, considering my first (and so far, only, ’cause it hasn’t broken) MP3 player purchase was a second-gen iPod Nano. The PRODUCT(RED) model, specifically.

    • Rachacha says:

      So your choices are Zune…oops, they have a similar data collection policy. Android..nope, again, similar policy, Palm…nope, they are dead, Windows Phone…if you really want to, but I suspect that they have a similar policy as well.

      • Pax says:

        … or just get an ordinary, normal cellphone. And an ordinary, not-a-special-brand mp3 player. *shrug* Or, and here’s a shocker – live without!!

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      iPod Touch requires internet access to use location services.

    • Veeber says:

      Well ok that’s your business. It’s just not worth trying to convince everyone after the alarmist headlines and lack of research which shows how and why this is the case and how it’s the case with all the phones with location based services. One less phone to compete with on ATT’s network.

  26. Eli the Ice Man says:

    Apple is the new Facebook.

  27. backinpgh says:

    So now APPLE is Big Brother? It’s come full circle, I see.

  28. backinpgh says:

    If you’re one of those people who freaked out about the changes to Facebook’s privacy agreement, you should probably be fashioning a tin-foil hat now if you also own an iPhone.

  29. Rachacha says:

    I suspect that eventually advertising will come into play, especially with the new advertising system that Apple apparently announced to their developers a few weeks ago location based advertising will likely be the next step. Not a problem provided I can customize the ads, for example, if I am on vacation with the family, or if it goes against my moral beliefs, I may not want to see ads for strip clubs or bars/clubs, however, if I am a college student, those are likely the places that I would like to see ads for.

    If however I receive location based advertising, I would like to see a reduction in the phone cost and/or a reduction in monthly service fees.

  30. jiubreyn says:

    This is really no different than Facebook.

  31. cbutler says:

    That’s nothing new. Many smart phones utilize location services these days especially the ones that utilze google maps

  32. Wei says:

    Would have been useful when someone stole mine.

  33. Sword_Chucks says:

    Who cares. Of course they want your location, because their apps and services and ad revenue are location aware. You get ads on your computer based on your location too.
    If you don’t like it, than simply don’t buy an iPhone. Not me, your friends, apple, or anybody is forcing you against your will to buy an Apple product. If you don’t like the terms of the contract then get a lawyer, change the agreement and send it to apple and wait for their lawyer’s response. It wont be worth it, because Apple won’t budge on their terms. So what are your next options? Get over it, or buy a different product. Just be warned, I am sure there are lots of location aware apps and services on all platforms.

  34. Llama says:

    Do you think this’ll make any difference in the long run? Answer: No. Because the world still has fanboys. I sincerly doubt its possible for apple to put more constrictions and treat their idiots/clients worse, and actually CAUSING a backlash.

  35. Preyfar says:

    Isn’t this similar to the reason Apple’s blocking AdMob… for collecting location data on users?

    • Lewys says:

      Ummm, no. Actually they are blocking Admob’s use of iOS device data because Admob is a wholly owned subsidiary of Google, who is a direct competitor in the smartphone category via Android. They actually allow 3rd party ad analyzers so long as they are not in direct competition with the iDevices/iOS ecosystem.

  36. CharlesFarley says:

    Apple is living their 1984 commercial.

  37. AngryK9 says:

    Which is yet another reason I will never buy or use an Apple product for as long as I live.

    • icruise says:

      Again, I’m positive that this article is misinterpreting this. Has anyone contacted Apple for comment?

  38. IThinkThereforeIAm says:

    It seems that most of the posters here missed the part about “store and share”.
    Obtaining the location may be necessary for certain functionality, storing and sharing is definitely not.
    Just my 2 cents…

  39. ben_marko says:

    So if they can’t identify you, what on earth is the big deal???

    This “WTF” crowd is probably the same bunch who constantly tweet and facebook their locations constantly anyway.

    • jrobie says:

      The WTF is because the Supreme Court set the legal standard for what law enforcement agencies (ie “the Man”) is allowed to do as “Reasonable Expectation of Privacy.” As people become more comfortable with invasions of their privacy, the power of the government expands.

      As Nadine Strossen from the ACLU put it “the Constitution only protects expectations of privacy that society considers “reasonable.” This creates a downward spiral: The more government and others invade our privacy, the fewer “reasonable expectations” of privacy we have, which means that government and others may intrude even further into our privacy, etc., etc.”

  40. piscesdreamer222 says:

    I remember when I worked for Apple, hands down the largest complaint I saw over and over again was that there was no way to locate a device when it was stolen. Apparently everyone automatically assumed that iPods and iPhones ALREADY had some sort of GPS feature that would find their stolen whatever and was always INCREDIBLY pissed when I had to tell them that it didn’t – it was somehow now Apple’s fault that their device had gotten stolen in the first place.

    If Apple can use this feature to just just that – find your stolen iWhatever AND give you the ability to opt in/out then that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea (at least to the countless parents of 13yos whose electronics always seemed to get stolen at camp)

    Then again, knowing Apple they won’t and this is just a way to sell ad revenue a la Minority Report.

  41. Bodger says:

    Why does my mind keep going back to the 1984 Apple “big brother” ad. Now that Steve has officially been crowned the replacement big brother by a mob of sheeple all bets are off and any creepy thing imaginable is coming soon to an Apple Store near you…

    • Lewys says:

      because ummmm you have no imagination? *grin* That has to be one of the most used internet meme among critics who are only dimly aware of the enitre situation – but that’s OK. It’s what we have the internet for.

  42. jrobie says:
  43. smo0 says:

    This is the thing about “big brother” technology.

    In and of itself it does no harm.

    It’s who has access to it and what they use it for that’s the kicker. Sure, I’m stating the obvious – but if it’s used for targetted sales then it needs to be regulated just like these “personalized ads” are on the net.

    What if you are in a “known crack/prostitution” neighborhood… would an alarm go off and send the cops after your location?

    What if you’re at a doctor’s location.. a specialist for something you’d rather no one else know about…. then all of the sudden you’re getting ads related to that other people might be visable to?

    “What is that Valtrex? Were you in that Prostitution neighborhood again?!”

  44. Hardwired says:

    The iPhone 4 is already outdated (imho) and yet I see morons camped out just waiting to get one AND use AT&T’s crappy service. Talk about a sucker born every minute. Just wow…

  45. AugustaCassiopeia says:

    At least Apple is consistent with their constant striving to shaft the end-user/customer.

  46. uptown says:

    And this from the one device from which you cannot remove the battery!

  47. knyghtryda says:

    I sense a rising demand for Faraday cage iphone cases in the future…

  48. BillyDeeCT says:

    I’m glad I read this BEOFRE getting an iPhone. Apple, you just screwed yourself out of a customer … and I hope others follow suit.

  49. Nick says:

    THE BLACK APPLE SEES ALL.

  50. Nick says:

    I suspect those in the WTF category would never buy an iPhone anyway. Turning off Location Services would be too difficult.

  51. freshyill says:

    I guess it’s easier to write a sensationalistic post than it is to understand what’s going on. Oh no! Not reading!

  52. jwrr says:

    Every localized app is *opt-in*. It prompts you before collecting any information and gives you the option to prevent it. You can opt-in once and than later go into settings and disable the same app. You have control.

    I understand the concern when it’s expressed the way it was in this article (badly), and I also understand why some people would avoid any phone that collects data (although they all know where you have been: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/jan-june10/cell_06-22.html ).

    What I don’t understand is the view that the Android is a more private alternative. Google knows more about you than any company on earth, and thanks to Android, that information is going to third parties as well:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/199621/20_percent_of_android_apps_can_threaten_privacy_says_vendor.html?tk=hp_new

  53. Lewys says:

    Kinda creepy? Or kinda going after page hits? LOL! Nice – did you ever consider that you dump more info about yourself in the average browser session than Apple is collecting – wait for it – by asking you to allow or deny in each and every instance of using the location indicator? Ohhhhhh yeah – that’s right – Apple requires every app (and all of their apps too) to request permission from you directly BEFORE it uses said info. You can refuse the location data tag. Isn’t that interesting? Or did you miss that piece of the controls in your rush to get the creepy little blog entry out there to grab for some topical page hits this week. But then Google does that too via Android as well as collecting all kinds of other info as you use their “free” apps. And amazingly, as has been noted in here previously, they bury the fact deep in their TOS, in fact it’s in the basement closet of the TOS, in the bottom drawer of a rusty file cabinet, underneath a bear trap. In a padlocked box. NOT in your face and obvious, like Apple.
    So much for consumer advocacy.

  54. oldwiz65 says:

    So you get lost and are driving through a shady area and an ad pops up “Need meth? Speak to Alex at the next traffic light”.

  55. encryptedbytes says:

    Another reason (as if we needed more) to avoid Apple like the plague.

  56. Whiskey212 says:

    So what we have here is just another reason to stay away from legal methods of obtaining our music/movies/books/etc. I really do look for legit ways of obtaining material and strongly believe in supporting quailty material. The publishers have gone out of their way to make things difficult on honest consumers that the only way to get this stuff is through file-sharing or some other means. Apple used to be one of the easiest ways to get this stuff and that too is now gone. For me this is just another reason to avoid King Steve’s castle Cupertino and their mind control (j/k) devices.

  57. Fenrisulfr says:

    I do not buy AAPL junk, woe unto those that do.

  58. Cubytus says:

    Wake up, people. Google has done it for years now, reading your emails (automatically, admittedly), and sets up every kind of service to get its hands on your personal data, also to serve you with targeted ads, and still, everyone is still happily using their services.

    They only want to trust them about their “don’t be evil” motto.

    Sorry, but no, their recent issues with supposedly accidental wifi packets capture and analysis show there’s no way these guys will end these non-kosher practices.

    When Google does it, everyone seems happy to run in their arms, when it’s Apple, they spit at it. Why?