25 April 2011

iPhone location data controversy won't go away, despite no real evidence

There were two comments to my previous post about the iPhone and iPad's storage of location data that I want to address:
Anonymous said...
Except that apple is not using the location based services (which I can turn off) in this case, but instead is using cell phone tower triangulation that I can not turn off.
I did not agree to that !!!!!!
Anonymous said...
It says "real-time location data". This does not address access to historical location data, which is different.
...and, like the previous reply said, you can't actually turn off the tower triangulation unless you turn the phone off.
Indeed, there is evidence that turning off location services does not actually stop the storage of such information.  Hopefully, Apple will address this issue very soon, especially considering that using the term "location services" implies more than just GPS, and presumably includes cell tower triangulation data. Still, as I stated in the previous post, the storage of this data is expressly contemplated in the licensing agreements.  The second comment, which suggests that "[i]t says "real-time location data". This does not address access to historical location data, which is different" is actually incorrect, as the license agreement says "...transmit, collect, maintain, process and use your location data, including the real-time geographic location..." Specifying the inclusion of real-time data does not exclude historical data, only that it is a part of a larger body of data.

The bigger issue are the allegations that the "iPhone sends your location to Apple twice a day." Despite this blog post and some rather sensational news reporting of this issue last week and throughout the weekend, no one has actually been able to produce a shred of data that suggests this is true.  While no one can prove a negative, @Dakahuna2007 captured 24 hours of his iPhone's traffic this weekend and found no such "phone home" evidence.

In closing, I'll ask the same question I asked last week: Does anyone actually have a capture file showing location data being transmitted to Apple, or are we just repeating unsubstantiated rumors?
Post a Comment