More breaking news hitting us this morning, at the same time that Apple released the white iPhone 4 news, they also took the time to issue the press a statement regarding the, highly publicized scandal in which we were the first to dub (and then others followed ), locationgate.
Apple answered every question the media (and senator Al Franken) had to ask Apple. Basically, Apple is not tracking you (specifically), but they use that data in order to make location services faster. They are tracking Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular towers around you, not you, per-say.
They also say that there will be a free iOS update in the next “few weeks” to address the locationgate issues of making the cache smaller and preventing it from being backed up in iTunes, as well as finally turning the services off when “location services” is turned off, which will bring better battery life. However, they say that the data will not be encrypted until “the next major iOS release”, AKA, iOS 5 (or, even iOS 4.4).
Here’s what Apple had to say:
Apple Q&A on Location Data
CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple would like to respond to the questions we have recently received about the gathering and use of location information by our devices.
1. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?
Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.
2. Then why is everyone so concerned about this?
Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.
3. Why is my iPhone logging my location?
The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.
4. Is this crowd-sourced database stored on the iPhone?
The entire crowd-sourced database is too big to store on an iPhone, so we download an appropriate subset (cache) onto each iPhone. This cache is protected but not encrypted, and is backed up in iTunes whenever you back up your iPhone. The backup is encrypted or not, depending on the user settings in iTunes. The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone. We plan to cease backing up this cache in a software update coming soon (see Software Update section below).
5. Can Apple locate me based on my geo-tagged Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
No. This data is sent to Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form. Apple cannot identify the source of this data.
6. People have identified up to a year’s worth of location data being stored on the iPhone. Why does my iPhone need so much data in order to assist it in finding my location today?
This data is not the iPhone’s location data-it is a subset (cache) of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database which is downloaded from Apple into the iPhone to assist the iPhone in rapidly and accurately calculating location. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.
7. When I turn off Location Services, why does my iPhone sometimes continue updating its Wi-Fi and cell tower data from Apple’s crowd-sourced database?
It shouldn’t. This is a bug, which we plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below).
8. What other location data is Apple collecting from the iPhone besides crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.
9. Does Apple currently provide any data collected from iPhones to third parties?
We provide anonymous crash logs from users that have opted in to third-party developers to help them debug their apps. Our iAds advertising system can use location as a factor in targeting ads. Location is not shared with any third party or ad unless the user explicitly approves giving the current location to the current ad (for example, to request the ad locate the Target store nearest them).
10. Does Apple believe that personal information security and privacy are important?
Yes, we strongly do. For example, iPhone was the first to ask users to give their permission for each and every app that wanted to use location. Apple will continue to be one of the leaders in strengthening personal information security and privacy.
Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:
- reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
- ceases backing up this cache, and
- deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.
In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone.read more
Breaking news hitting us just moments ago, it seems that Apple has just been sued in federal court for alleged privacy invasion and computer fraud by two customers who claim the company is secretly recording and storing the location and movement of iPhone and iPad users.
The lawsuit was filed in Tampa, Florida by 2 people, one in Florida and the other in New York earlier today.
Here is a statement from their attorney:
“We take issue specifically with the notion that Apple is now basically tracking people everywhere they go, If you are a federal marshal you have to have a warrant to do this kind of thing, and Apple is doing it without one.”
We expect more lawsuits to follow, despite Steve Jobs saying that Apple was not sending itself our location data.
More to come…
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Well we have some interesting pictures for you guys. The pictures were leaked just a few moments ago by M.I.C (they have leaked other things before, so they are rather credible). These images show what appears to be an iPhone with an abnormally large screen.
Could this be faked? Sure, it can always be faked, but this does coincide with rumors suggesting that very high level iOS developers had received updated iPhone 4s with an A5 processor inside, however, this is the first instance that one of these “iPhone 4S” phones has had a larger 3.7 inch screen as opposed to the regular 3.5 inch retina display that is on the device today.
Here’s what M.I.C. had to say:
“Man, we don?t know if this is real, but at least we can see that it has a larger display and edge-to-edge glass. Maybe it?s a mockup, but we are sure that it?s not an iPhone 4.”
More info as we get it.
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It seems that Steve Jobs has just responded to a customer email that was asking about specifics on the database that has all of our location information in it. As usual, Mr. Jobs, however brief he speaks, has caused a shockwave accross the Apple community.
Here is the customer’s email:
Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me.”
Steve Jobs responded with this:
“Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.
Sent from my iPhone”
Now, the bad part about Steve Jobs’ emails are that he isn’t very specific about anything. We have proven that iOS 4.x.x is keeping tabs on where you go (even when location services is turned off) as we’ve found the database and even figured out how to corrupt it. However, no one proven that Apple is being sent this info.
Now, not only did he dismiss the locationgate scandal, but he dropped a bombshell saying that Google, is in-fact, tracking you.
Now, many people (such as myself) have believed that Google does keep location data and is constantly being sent this information, but this is the first time Steve Jobs has publicly said anything on the rumor.
We expect Google to release a press release on a rebuttal soon.
Stay tuned as this story develops…read more
So apple has a bug that has been known since iOS 4.3. I saw this bug in iOS 4.3.1 and it still has not been fixed in iOS 4.3.2. When you launch the camera app going through the specific steps below you will get a message that says: Flash is Disabled The iPhone needs to cool down before you can use the flash.
I know for a fact that my iPhone is not overheating and have even found out a way to replicate this camera roll bug. To see the bug for yourself on iOS 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 follow these steps:
1. Open up the camera app.
2. Switch to the front facing camera.
3. press the camera roll button in the bottom left corner.
4. After viewing the picture press Done.
5. Switch back to the rear camera.
6. You will see a flash symbol with a triangle and exclamation point. Press this and you will see the message pop up on the screen: Flash is Disabled The iPhone needs to cool down before you can use the flash.
This is a really annoying bug but to fix it for now is just to exit out of the camera app and re-open it. Hopefully Apple fixes this in the next iOS firmware update.
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