Hey guys, Apple and Google are testifying at a Congressional hearing right now, I am watching Live on the Sunlight Foundation’s website in an annotated live feed.
The hearing is in reference to locationgate. Apple and Google are speaking to congress on what they do with your location and whether or not you can turn it on or off.
At this time (10:26 a.m.) Apple is testifying and restating that they do not share any of your location data nor does any of your location data get transmitted to the mothership and that they fixed the “bug” that made it so that if you turn off “location services” that it actually turns them off.
At (10:32 a.m.) Google has said that consumers should know that carrier’s cellular records can be obtained without a warrant and nothing online is protected by the 4th amendment rights in the Constitution of the United States as opposed to the desktop, which is protected under a “25 year old privacy bill”.
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Do not upgrade yet if you rely on a jailbreak and unlock. We will let you know when and how to upgrade as soon as there are tools available.
This update contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache including:
- Reduces the size of the cache
- No longer backs the cache up to iTunes
- Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is Turned off
Products compatible with this software update and their download links. You can find all iOS firmware downloads here: http://leimobile.com/firmware-downloads/
• iPhone 4 (GSM model)
• iPhone 3GS
• iPad 2 (2,1=WiFI, 2,2=AT&T, 2,3=Verizon):
ULTRASN0W UNLOCKERS: Stay away and make sure that you save your SHSH files with TinyUmbrella for iOS 4.3.2 before the window closes.
UPDATES: Looks like 4.2.8 was also released for Verizon. Looking for Old Verizon iOS iPhone 4 downloads? Click here
Verizon iPhone 4 iPhone3,3_4.2.8_8E401_Restore.ipsw
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BGR has reported that Apple will release iOS 4.3.3 which will be out in the next week or so to fix the locationgate issues as well as some other bug fixes. BGR has an inside source and has been right on with the last couple of updates. They have an internal iPhone 4 build: iPhone3,1_4.3.3_8J2_Restore.ispw
- The update will no longer back up the location database to iTunes.
- The size of the location database will be reduced.
- The location database will be deleted entirely when Location Services are turned off.
- Battery life improvements.
- iPod bug fixes.
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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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