Apple’s updated privacy policy alerts users of real-time location sharing with third-parties

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“Apple has updated its privacy policy and includes some new language which might bother some iPhone and iPad users,” Eric Zeman reports for InformationWeek. “According to the new clause, Apple warns that it will share ‘precise location data’ with its partners and licensees. Should you be alarmed?”

“Well, Google already does this with its Android platform. The information is typically not used to track you per se, but the device and services that are being accessed on it,” Zeman reports. “The feedback generated by this information helps developers and third-party companies improve the performance and capabilities of their apps. At least, in theory.”

“The new privacy terms must be agreed to before users can update or download apps from the iPhone App Store. Most users will click the “accept” button without reading the new terms. The only way to avoid agreeing to the terms would be to stop using iTunes do download applications,” Zeman reports. “That’s not a realistic alternative.”

“As Apple notes, the information isn’t being tied to any specific end users and can’t be used to discover their identity directly. Many of the applications that are offered to the iPhone are location-enabled. They are required to ask the user if the user wants the application to access their location data before it can do so,” Zeman reports. “Google Maps wouldn’t be very useful from your mobile phone if the phone couldn’t tell Google Maps where you are. You get the idea.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You can always opt-out of iAds if you want to see snowblower ads in Phoenix.

24 Comments

  1. I’m your new big brother and now I have a new way to watch over you and keep you safe and out of trouble, by knowing where you are, who you’re talking to, what you’re buying, what you’re interested in, what you like, what you say, and what you think. I will make your world a better place – I will make it perfect, and I will remove all undesirable elements, including yours. Just vote for me, and click ‘agree’. It’s all in the name of Good.

  2. I actually couldn’t care less if Apple knew where I was at any given time. But I trust them when they say that they’re not tracking me individually. What’s in it for them to know where I am anyway? I certainly don’t think they’re selling that info to anyone. They’re way too smart to do that. If they did that and got caught they’d be crucified for it.

    I’ll check “OK” and not think another thing about it.

  3. They really need to offer an option to opt-out. I haven’t decided if I care or not, but it isn’t really fair to those that purchased the phone not knowing that Apple would change their TOS to track their location.

  4. If the location info on Twitter is any indication, no worries; it often puts me in a town several miles from my actual location.

    If enough people raise a stink, maybe there’ll be an “opt out” setting…but be prepared for iAds that have nothing to do with where you are.

  5. Everyone has an opt out option; don’t use Apple’s products, end of story.

    Those equating geo-synchronous tracking as a means to unlock the secrets of your life are either ignoramouses, deviants, or feeding their paronoid delusions.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too! You trust the one you’re about to marry, or you don’t.

    I know there is little correlation between marrying someone and buying a electronics gadget, however, most of us know we aren’t just buying a gadget, we’re putting our faith and trust in Apple, a company we have come to respect for putting the customer’s user experience above profits.

    Exercise your free will and shop around. Compare the iPhone and Apple to Android and Google to N90 and Nokia and choose, but then stop bitching at here at MDN because you’re weakness is showing. Which, believe me, reveals a lot more about you than your phone does!

  6. I’m not so much worried about Apple as I am worried about ATT – they have already been shown to have allowed “Homeland Security” (God I hate that term – gives me the creeps) direct access to everyone’s calls. What’s to stop them from giving them unfettered access to your location and who knows what else?

  7. For those who say don’t buy the iPhone:

    What about those that bought the iPhone before the policy changes were released? The product they purchased is no longer the same product. Those people already voted with their dollars for a product that doesn’t track their location, now they don’t have that product.

    Yes, they can purchase another phone, but they’re not going to get their money back for the iPhone.

    I’ve pretty much decided I don’t care about that change with respect to my own use. I’ve never been much for the tin-foil hat crowd, but I respect those that feel that way. I feel sorry for those that purchased the phone only to have the TOS changed after their purchase.

  8. Follow up: turning off Location Services prevents the data from being collected. I’m sure those that want to, will turn it off and be happy. They lose a little bit of functionality, but not much.

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