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iPhone and iPad: Now Tracking Their Users


 

A friend once said that it wasn’t big brother you had to watch out for; it was little brother. Since I was secretly recording our conversation with a mini-recorder at the time, I could definitely see the truth as well as the irony in his statement. With the new technology that’s out there, we now have to worry about both “big brother” and “little brother,” and particularly Apple right now because the iPhone and iPhone now double as tracking devices.

 

Apple has been caught tracking the location of their iPhones and iPad users with technology that is programmed into the devices and cannot be disabled. While the experts are stating that the data is only being collected and that the data “stays on your phone,” this is little consolation to anyone in the digital age we live in. According to THIS, the tracking device stores your country information as well as which Wi-Fi networks you use onto your device and your computer. In addition, the tracking device stores information regarding which cell phone towers you are using to connect to your networks.

 

 

Who knows what Apple (or anyone else for that matter) can do with an individual’s location data? The possibilities seem endless. The danger, as described by the researchers who exposed Apple’s claim, is that anyone with an interest in a person’s whereabouts can track their movements through their iPhones or iPads by accessing the data on the phones or computers.

 

Congressman Ed Markey of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has already sent a letter of inquiry to Apple CEO Steve Jobs asking: 

 

about Apple's data collection, storage and disclosure practices, including the company's compliance with a section of the Communications Act that requires companies to get permission from their customers to access information regarding their location for commercial purposes. Markey said he wanted answers from the company to ensure that "sensitive information can't be left behind for others to follow."

 

The congressman is concerned about whether or not Apple is maintaining the privacy standards for its users and whether it is following the letter of the law; however, Apple included a full disclosure in its user agreement that its iPhone and iPad users might be have their location data tracked by Apple, so it just might be that Apple is legally allowed to track their users.

 

At the moment, there is no evidence to suggest that Android smartphones have the ability to track their users.