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Germany joins calls for explanation of iOS location tracking

updated 05:40 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011

'A string of open questions' exists, says gov't.

The German government has joined groups requesting an explanation for an unprotected location history file in iOS 4, says Reuters. The country's consumer protection ministry is asking Apple to answer "a string of open questions," namely "where, for how long, and for what purpose the data is saved, who has access to it, and how it is protecting against unauthorized access." An Apple Germany spokesman has so far refused to comment.

"The secret collection and storage of a smart phone's location data would be a major invasion of privacy," adds consumer protection ministry spokeman Holger Eichele. Reuters observes that Germany has particularly tough data security rules, and has previously cracked down on companies like Google and Facebook.

In the US an informal government probe has been launched by Minnesota senator Al Franken. The politician has sent a two-page letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, asking for information on many of the same topics raised by Germany. The history tracker may however just be a badly-handled cache file, either a bug or a programming oversight. It could therefore be easily secured in a future iOS update.







by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. cvbcvb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Data?

    One would need to have a persons iPhone or a persons computer to even get this tracking data. At that point said person would have access to his Calendar, Address Book, Emails, etc. That info would be way more useful then the vague/inaccurate tracking data file. Just the Calendar alone would give me a LOT more detail about ones life. Where's the outcry over the phone having this data?

    CVB

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    faux indignation

    the "personal freedom and liberty" countries crack me up... while their police agencies try to figure out how to use this kind of information for finding and / or tracking the bad guys.

    The European countries take a dump every time something happens--no matter what. They can't even handle their currency problems. Nor can we handle our debt load. Politicians are always looking for TANGENTS... they are safer.

  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011

    -9

    Explanation

    I remember when iOS 4 used its location tracking on me. It followed me going to the store to purchase an Android device and it never heard from me again.

    - Sent from my Android device.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    wow.

    "In the US an informal government probe has been launched by Minnesota senator Al Franken. The politician has sent a two-page letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs,"

    While Al Franken, a senator has sent a letter to Apple, I'm not sure that action, in and of itself, rises to an "informal government probe".

    Funny to see it stated thus.

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -7

    @facebook_Clarence


    >>>I remember when iOS 4 used its location tracking on me. It followed me going to the store to purchase an Android device and it never heard from me again.


    R. O. F. L!


    - Sent from my Android Device.

  1. facebook_Jean-Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011

    -2

    Big Deal?!

    Very well put on all the aforementioned comments...
    I caught the ending of this "tracking; data file" story this afternoon on UNC-NPR Radio...
    The question that I have on this is; what does Senator Al Franken expect to accomplish with his "Informal probe" by writing to Steve Jobs? Really? As if this country is not stressed for more important things than that i.e. $4.00 per US Gallons of gasoline, high unemployment rate, health care and high rate of home foreclosures, war on three front... Just to name a few
    Now, he wants to mingle with iPhone issues? PLEASE!
    I am equally pleased about S.J. ignoring his two-page "informal probe" letter. Not to mention that Steve does not have to answer it.
    If it is a "just be a badly-handled cache file", then it's simply a matter of releasing a patch; problem solved!

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