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Apple CEO Steve Jobs insists that his company's "magical" iPhones and iPads don't track customers -- despite glaring evidence to the contrary. He accused rival Android -- which has recently been beating Apple in market share -- of tracking customers. He offered no evidence to support his claims.
Apple CEO offers no evidence to support his claims

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs is fond of describing his sleek electronic gadgets-cum-fashion statements as "magical".  This week he tried to work a bit of "magic" on the public in the face of major tracking concerns.

Tracking concerns?  What tracking concerns?

That was basically Mr. Jobs' take in a brief email exchange with a customer.

An iPhone user emailed Mr. Jobs, writing:

Steve,

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It's kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don't track me.

As he occasionally does, the Apple CEO and tech luminary actually appeared to respond in person to the user.  He writes:

Oh yes they do. We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Sent from my iPhone

The email was published and ostensibly verified by MacRumors, a popular Apple leaks blog.  It seems likely to be authentic, given that it follows Mr. Jobs' email style -- short, to the point, and short on details.

Mr. Jobs' claims that Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS tracks customers seem to have a bit of foundation.  Android maintains a very limited database of users' location.  However, the database appears to turn off if location services are disabled.  It also is regularly wiped.

By contrast Apple maintains a much larger local database that appears never to be wiped.  The easily visualized file shows in vivid detail where users have been.  It collects data hundreds of times a day.  About the only defense Apple can legitimately muster is that it does not regularly collect the file.

Apple had previously claimed that its iOS devices stop following customers if they turn off location services.  But it now appears that they do not -- the database keeps growing regardless of the setting.  That revelation has led to multiple international officials, including [PDF] United States Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), demanding the company explain itself.

Mr. Jobs has in the past emailed customers about such issues as his company's campaign against pornography and Flash (two of Mr. Jobs' least favorite things).


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RE: He is actually correct.
By omnicronx on 4/25/2011 5:07:53 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, not everything is tracked.

Any apps including those that want to use AGPS must ask for permission to do so. (even tracking on google search is disabled by default)

The entire point of Latitude IS to share your location with everyone, so I don't even know why you pointed this out.

Traffic is based on historical data, and/or local radio station digital feeds (same as tom tom etc), not from your phone.

It does not regularly poll my GPS for data, and I have the logs to prove it. So once again, wrong..

Lastly it surely does not save my AGPS data everytime I make a call or use GPS and save it to an unencrypted database on my phone that is accessible from not only the phone, but any backup of your device on your PC.

While there may be worse apps on the Android market that could result in a user being tracked, Apple is surely the only device doing this kind of tracking natively. Heck even if Google/MS whomever is doing this tracking, its clearly server side.

I just don't see the purpose of a database on phone for tracking purposes, what value could this possibility have? (aside from making police officers around the world rejoice)


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