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He's always watching: Apple CEO Steve Jobs has implemented a plan that would allow his company to track users and target ads at their mobile devices. Germany isn't happy with that plan or Apple's lack of transparency.  (Source: MHP Books)
Nation demands answers as to what data Apple is collecting

Germany's Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in an interview [Google translation] with Der Spiegel said that American electronics maker Apple needs to immediately adopt more transparency .  She stated, "Users of iPhones and other GPS devices must be aware of what kind of information about them is being collected."

She said that Apple must "immediately make clear" what information it plans to collect.  She says that Apple must "open its databases to German data protection authorities" and make it clear how long it intends to keep user data.

The announcement comes in the wake of changes to Apple's privacy policy, which indicate that Apple may be tracking and storing users' locations via GPS.  That could allow the company to better target its ads, leading to more lucrative revenue and new opportunities, but it would also create privacy concerns.

While it's clear that you can opt out of allowing third-party (non-Apple) apps to collect location data, it's unclear if you can completely opt out of Apple's mobile device tracking plan or exactly what that plan is (the legal language merely suggests that Apple has the opportunity to make use of tracking).

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger says it would be "unthinkable" for Apple to track users' locations or collect info to try to detect their personalities.  She states, "Apple has the obligation to properly implement the transparency so often promised by (CEO) Steve Jobs."

Apple faces government inquiries in the U.S. over privacy and antitrust concerns.

Meanwhile, other companies are struggling with Germany's progressive stance on privacy. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has directed recent criticism against the world's largest social network, Facebook.  She firmly disagrees with the site's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, in his belief that users no longer care about privacy.  She recently quit the site over privacy concerns.

Google also recently apologized to Germans for "accidentally" collecting personal data sent by consumers over wireless networks.

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RE: It's gone too far when...
By Fleeb on 6/28/2010 11:34:25 AM , Rating: 2
Actually they have this law in German regarding privacy which roots back to WWII and they are like paranoid with it. I personally know and I find it hard to work with Germans especially with regards to this law.

RE: It's gone too far when...
By kmmatney on 6/28/2010 1:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
I can attest to that!! I have a co-worker who was born and raised in Germany, but has been living in the U.S. for 15 years. He doesn't have a wireless router at his house, as he's paranoid about security. His brother still lives in Germany and is even more paranoid.

RE: It's gone too far when...
By The0ne on 6/28/2010 1:19:59 PM , Rating: 1
And yet I think people didn't catch my sarcasm at all ahhahaa it's no wonder there are so many buyers of Apple.

RE: It's gone too far when...
By tim851 on 6/28/2010 3:01:02 PM , Rating: 3
There is no one law regarding privacy.

There is article 2 of the German basic law that denotes Personality Rights on the basis of which the Constitutional Court (German Supreme Court) formulated the idea of "informational self-determination".

The base line is that every citizen has the right to determine which of their personal data is processed by whom and for what purpose.

I don't know how you could possibly have difficulties with that, apart from you being a data-miner, in which case yeah, this concept is exactly to ward off people like you.

And I don't believe Germans are any more or less paranoid about their privacy than Americans. If you don't care which corporation knows what about you and what they do with that information that is your choice, but you don't speak for everybody!

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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