Privacy Wars

A recently article from the guardian shows that your iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go. Many of your know that I’m an iPhone user and supporter as I have a often neglected iPhone App site.

You’re probably thinking to yourself right now, great, another fanboy coming to Apple’s rescue.

WRONG!

What the fuck Apple? Seriously, what the fuck? Is there a good reason for keeping track of this data? I mean seriously, what are you doing with it?

Actually, there is a good reason for it and its all about advertising. The guys at work have heard this on multiple occasions that the iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iPad are all marketing devices. Mainly for selling anything and everything from iTunes but with iAd, they can now sell you anything. It turns out with a little googling you can find that the Terms and Conditions changed with iOS 4 and there was a feature explained that Apple can track you to provide more relevant ads to your phone. And to also provide features such as Find My iPhone.

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. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.

Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.

Apple and its partners use cookies and other technologies in mobile advertising services to control the number of times you see a given ad, deliver ads that relate to your interests, and measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns. If you do not want to receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you can opt out by accessing the following link on your device: http://oo.apple.com. If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests. You may still see ads related to the content on a web page or in an application or based on other non-personal information. This opt-out applies only to Apple advertising services and does not affect interest-based advertising from other advertising networks.

So does this make it right? No, I don’t think so. I think this sort of tracking is very very wrong. If you want to put up a service like this, it should be in the app to disclose my location. If I’m a developer, I have to allow for this pop up to appear. But apparently apple and their iAds do not. That is where we have an issue. The end user is used to the pop up appearing and only then does their location information get used. However, Apple apparently bypasses this for their iAd service which is not honoring the end user wishes in all cases.

So what can you do?

I know I only have myself to blame for this one as I should have read the terms and conditions more closely. But there is a way out of it. Just as you read above, simply go to http://oo.apple.com/ on your iOS device and you can opt out of the tracking. (Credit Geeky-Gadgets.com for this post.

What about Google

Don’t worry Android fans, you’re not left out in the cold either. Turns out the Wall Street Journal has discovered that Google is also transmitting data from the Android.

And don’t forget about the google street cars and their tomfoolery.

There is a site out there that can map the location of your wireless router via the Google Android’s Wardriving Database. I put in the mac address of my wireless router and was not surprised to find it in there with a GPS coordinate of my street. Awesome!

So now what?

Like many people out there, I was pretty pissed at Apple and Google to begin with. But at the same time, its my own damn fault, I didn’t read the Terms and Conditions like I should.

We live in a society of ever increasing intrusions into our private lives. These intrusions must be fought off in order to keep our private lives private. So my friends, opt out whenever you can and stay vigilant of new “features” that are released. Your privacy is only good if you fight to protect it.

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