By: Lee Rickwood, What'sYourTech.ca
Suddenly everyone is talking about how your iPhone tracks your movements. And worrying too!
But before you panic, think! Your Android also tracks you. So do the wireless companies and the online map services and the social media sites. And for some cell and smartphone users, GPS Tracking is becoming a major issue.
So now we get breathless reports of what two British scientists have ‘revealed’ about the inner workings of the iPhone. There’s something in there that has folks “deeply disturbed”….”quite shocked”… “Incredibly concerned”. Something about a database they’ve found in there.
It surprises me that people are surprised. For years, I’ve been asking friends and acquaintances, ‘How do you think the phone company knows how to deliver a call to you? Think they scour the whole planet in a milli-second or two, hoping to find you somewhere?’
But hey – buried deep inside the ol’ iPhone 3G user manual (Pg 16) is the following:
“By using any location based services on your iPhone, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its partners transmission, collection, maintenance, processing and use of your location data”….”including the real-time geographic location of your iPhone…”.
Apple – and its partners! Collecting, transmitting, processing data? Who woulda thunkit?
So, what were those scientists saying again? Why are so-called privacy experts going ballistic – haven’t any of them read the instructions?!?!?
Other more sophisticated tools, still readily available online, allow for the tracking and viewing of call records, SMS text messages, URL logs and geo-position tracking and mapping. Specific times, dates and locations are easily stored and retrieved, as well as the coordinates of any nearby cell nodes or Wi-Fi networks.
Especially with mobile, but in a lot of other connected situations and with a lot of other high-tech gadgets, individual privacy is often severely compromised. So authorities in Europe are assessing the potential impact of this mobile tracking ‘discovery’ of behalf of their citizens. Politicians in the U.S. are calling for Apple to explain itself (beyond the user manual, I guess), too. Here in Canada, online advocates have called for the federal Privacy Commissioner to initiate a privacy probe.
Of course, Android and iPhone users can opt out of data collection by turning off location services on their phones.
Manufacturers say this limits certain functions of the a phone, such as photo geo-tagging and the look-up bookmark on some mapping tools.
Did they mention it could affect getting a call at all?
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