Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

6/28/2010
11:49 AM
50%
50%

What's Apple Doing With Geolocation Data?

Congressmen ask for explanation about alterations in the company's privacy policy

Reps. Edward J. Markey and Joe Barton, co-chairmen of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, have asked Apple for an explanation of recent changes in the company's privacy policy.

The congressmen are concerned over media reports that the changes suggest that Apple is collecting and sharing data containing the geographic locations of iPhone and iPad users.

"Given the limited ability of Apple users to opt out of the revised policy and still be able to take advantage of the features of their Apple products, we are concerned about the impact the collection of such data could have on the privacy of Apple's customers," the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.

Markey, D-Mass., and Barton, R-Texas, have asked Apple to respond by July 12. Apple did not return a request for comment in time for this writing.

The changes to Apple's general privacy policy was first reported Monday by the Los Angeles Times. The paragraph added would allow Apple and unspecified "partners and licensees" to collect and store user location data, the newspaper said. Users of Apple products would have to agree to the policy first.

Apple has been collecting location data since 2008. The difference now is that Apple has moved the notification of the practice from End User License Agreements of individual products to its general privacy policy covering all product, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The added passage reads:

"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."

While the data is collected anonymously, analysts have shown that such data can be used to identify people based on behavior patterns. However, without the gathering of location data, applications dependent on the information, such as mapping software, wouldn't be very useful. How to balance the need for such information and people's privacy remains an open question.

Nevertheless, the number of smartphones with location-based services is growing dramatically. The number of smartphones with navigation systems supporting such services will rise from 81 million units this year to 297 million by 2014, according to iSuppli.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-27905
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-13
The ReplicationHandler (normally registered at "/replication" under a Solr core) in Apache Solr has a "masterUrl" (also "leaderUrl" alias) parameter that is used to designate another ReplicationHandler on another Solr core to replicate index data into the local core. To...
CVE-2021-29262
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-13
When starting Apache Solr versions prior to 8.8.2, configured with the SaslZkACLProvider or VMParamsAllAndReadonlyDigestZkACLProvider and no existing security.json znode, if the optional read-only user is configured then Solr would not treat that node as a sensitive path and would allow it to be rea...
CVE-2021-29425
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-13
In Apache Commons IO before 2.7, When invoking the method FileNameUtils.normalize with an improper input string, like "//../foo", or "\\..\foo", the result would be the same value, thus possibly providing access to files in the parent directory, but not further above (thus "...
CVE-2021-29943
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-13
When using ConfigurableInternodeAuthHadoopPlugin for authentication, Apache Solr versions prior to 8.8.2 would forward/proxy distributed requests using server credentials instead of original client credentials. This would result in incorrect authorization resolution on the receiving hosts.
CVE-2021-28938
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-13
Siren Federate before 6.8.14-10.3.9, 6.9.x through 7.6.x before 7.6.2-20.2, 7.7.x through 7.9.x before 7.9.3-21.6, 7.10.x before 7.10.2-22.2, and 7.11.x before 7.11.2-23.0 can leak user information across thread contexts. This occurs in opportunistic circumstances when there is concurrent query exec...