As promised in iPhone Software License Agreement, Apple tracking iPhone usage data

“Put on your tinfoil hats, because according to the findings of XianLi, one of the members of Hackint0sh, the iPhone spies on you,” Jesus Diaz reports for Gizmodo.

The evidence in the code shows that the Stocks and Weather applications send your IMEI number—the unique number that identifies your iPhone and is tied to your personal information—to Apple, along with the nature of the information you are looking at:

“While there’s no evidence that Apple actually uses this information for any purpose, good or evil, the code shows that every time you try to access detailed information on whatever stock, your IMEI will be sent embedded in the URL. This could be cross-referenced with IP location and the information in Apple or its partner’s databases to gather extremely valuable data for marketing purposes,” Diaz reports.

More in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s iPhone Software License Agreement states, “You agree that Apple and its subsidiaries may collect and use technical and related information, including but not limited to technical information about your iPhone, computer, system and application software, and peripherals, that is gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, product support and other services to you (if any) related to the iPhone Software, and to verify compliance with the terms of this License. Apple may use this information, as long as it is in a form that does not personally identify you, to improve our products or to provide services or technologies to you.”

55 Comments

  1. The user agreement said this would happen, right? The inane whining of trolls always amazes me. They keep expecting Apple to say they’ll collect data and then somehow forget to collect data. I suppose liars expect the whole world to lie as well. You get what you sign up for.

  2. Usually every time you visit a website, your IP address is logged, unless you take extra steps of setting up a proxy server. Your computer’s MAC address is also sent along with every request. Website have access to your computer’s OS and browser information.

    Unless you’ve blocked your phone number, which is personal to you, it is logged when you call any other cell phone or business that uses some form of call monitoring system or call display.

    Now, that said, as a programmer and website creator (of which widgets are basically mini versions of), I see _no_ good reason for the phone’s IMEI number to be sent along with every Stocks or Weather request. That just doesn’t make any sense at all, and I hope Apple takes the appropriate action to remove this parameter from the request URL.

  3. “The user agreement said this would happen, right?”

    —————–

    No, as theloniousMac mentioned above, the user agreement says:

    “…Apple may use this information, as long as it is in a form that does not personally identify you, to improve our products or to provide services or technologies to you …”

    However, Your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier) identifies you.

    This is in fact a violation of the user agreement that we agreed to.

  4. @Mean Guy,Ok so lets say Apple doesn’t use this data what’s the worst that can happen? No timely improvement to the interface , no new variants of the Iphone product line. No new features, the Iphone becomes a one trick pony and MS mobile starts to catch up with Vista Mobile (hahahaharrrggggg). I personally don’t mind this because with all that data Apple still is not preventing you from hacking your own personal phone despite the bitching of the hacking public. IF this get’s me a better product faster I’m all for it. Microsoft and Record companies use this data to squeeze more money from products already sold. Apple uses this to design the next life productivity tools…see the difference. 2 tenets in life it’s good to live by :
    1. you can’t cheat an honest person and
    2. If you have nothing to hide you have no reason to be paranoid.

  5. since 1)nobody yet has any idea what is being collected or what it is used for, and 2) despite the tinfoil hat group having shown up in the past to gripe about this kind of stuff it has always turned out that Apple has been pretty fair and not used any questionable data or kept personal records (iTunes mini store anyone?) how about i suggest a wild idea.

    stop, take a breath, wait to freak out until something is actually known.

    i swear, the majority of people sit like sheep while the bush government spies on everything we do, but when a company with no past record to question tries to make sure their product is actually working as advertised the kooks come outta the woodwork…..

  6. coolfactor: Usually every time you visit a website, your IP address is logged, unless you take extra steps of setting up a proxy server. Your computer’s MAC address is also sent along with every request. Website have access to your computer’s OS and browser information.

    I don’t think that’s correct… your IP address is of course transmitted to allow the server to answer, but your MAC address is not transmitted over the internet.

    Your MAC address is only known to the DSL router you’re going through, but it hides it from the external network. And your IP address is usually dynamic and by law not allowed to be known to the owner of the external server (at least in Germany).

    Unnecessarily sending the IMEI along with a very pedestrian server request would be a major breach of german data protection laws. The excerpt above doesn’t really seem to substantiate that claim, but if that should really happen, Apple should brace itself for a major shitstorm of harshly negative publicity…

  7. You don’t like being tracked? Do you use Google? Do you have an ISP? Who handles your email?

    The entire internet is tracked. Apple claims that they will not use the personal information in any way to identify you, and so far in the Many Many years of registering Apple products there has been zero downside.

    No marketing calls, except to offer a deal for AppleCare which I took, no marketing mail, some spam email which is hardly a problem…

    …of all the crap out there, Apple is not the problem.

  8. Sorry, let me re-phrase my post:

    I love Apple and everything they do, without question. I should more thoroughly read their non-negotiable software license, because I would have realized that they have my own best interests in mind, and besides, the whole internet is tracked anyway, and I have nothing to hide, and only a troll would say otherwise, etc. Awesome.

  9. Tre: “However, Your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier) identifies you.

    This is in fact a violation of the user agreement that we agreed to.”

    Unless your name is “7T7<whatever>”, you’re never going to make this statement anything more than an uninformed opinion. Your IMEI points to your phone, not you, and the private info associated with your phone is *not* being sent out with the server requests.

    There is no evidence that the data being collected is being used for *anything* at this point, much less hard-targeted advertiseing. Spend your time worrying about something that is actually happening.

  10. @Mocking the Paranoid.

    Firstly, you’re not mocking me, because I’m not paranoid. I’ve nothing to hide. I’m just simply stating that this is a violation of the user agreement, because this data is not anonymous, you CAN be identified by your IMEI pointing to your phone, (as you stated.)

    If you’re phone can be identified, so can you.

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