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Apple Storing and Selling? Device Location Information



1:44 am on Jun 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

A recent update to Apple's privacy policy states that they store and share the precise location of user's devices:

To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.

[apple.com ]

They claim that this data is not stored in a personally identifiable form, but elsewhere in their privacy policy they state that they do not consider each device's unique ID to be personal information. Which makes sense, there is no commercial value in "sharing" the data if it can't result in location based advertising to a specific device.

Opting out does not appear to be an option and there is no mention of time limitations on data storage. Presumably everywhere you go with your apple device is being stored.

I'm curious to see whether this will cause the kind of public outcry that it would if the policy update happened at Google or Microsoft.

too much information

2:58 am on Jun 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If they are doing anything with it, it is apparently internal.

I had an iPad stolen and as we all know iTunes grabs the serial number of your device when you plug it in, so all I need is for Apple to give me the billing address for the iTunes account that my iPad's serial is now attached to. (They could just give it to the police for all I care)

But Apple claims to have no way to identify that type of thing which is crappy customer loyalty if you ask me. And after all of the loyal fans Apple has, don't you think they would provide a system for the cops to access for addresses of stolen devices? I could throw that together in a few hours with access to their data.


3:08 am on Jun 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

it is apparently internal.

If they only need location data for internal use, why add a share clause in their privacy policy? If it said "share with permission" I'd look at it differently. As it is the general idea is "we can do whatever we want with the data we store about your location".

too much information

4:38 am on Jun 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm not saying they don't have plans or deals with information providers but they wouldn't admit to having any info that would help me find the thief that cost me quite a bit of money.

What I do know is that there is a new service for Mobile Me subscribers where you can get the location of your devices using a free app that you can install. But before the app can locate your lost device you have to have turned on the locate feature in the settings of that device before loosing it. And it only works on the 3G models.


6:16 pm on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

As I suspected... Not much public outrage. Definitely would have been if a company like Google that had made a similar TOS change.

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