Both Apple and Google Sued over Location-Tracking in Their Smartphone OS's

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    It seems as if the world has gone "law-suit happy" sometimes. Last week, there was a report that a class-action lawsuit was being filed against Apple because the iPhone tracks the location of its users without their permission. Then, shortly afterward, Steve jobs emailed the following in response to a MacRumors user's email question.

    Further reports from The Wall Street Journal indicate that his statement is not true, and that not only does the iPhone track location data, it even does it when you have location services turned off, unlike Android. Several government agencies around the world including French, German, Italian and South Korean privacy regulators began investigations and found that Apple’s devices do track and store data about the movements of iPhone and iPad users, and are investigating further.

    After that, an uproar arose on the internet that Google tracks location data as well. Google responded with the following, "Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user," the Mountain View based company said that in theory, it is possible for a third party to grab the data and use it to identify a specific person. Also, third party reports indicate that, "while Android has been shown to also gather location information, the database is limited to a much smaller list of entries and is regularly wiped by the system."

    However, this has not stopped two Android phone users in Michigan from also filing a class-action lawsuit against Google for $50 Million dollars in damages, and an order for Google to cease location tracking, because they feel their privacy has been breached.

    Now, both companies are facing scrutiny from consumers and lawmakers over the collection of data on smart phones. Both Google and Apple have agreed to testify at a May 10 Senate hearing about consumer privacy on mobile devices.

    In the mean-time, the rest of us on the forums can roll our eyes, because we knew about this stuff a long time ago, and realize that there isn't much to it. This location tracking is a feature designed for users and can be disabled, at least for Android users. And, even if it can't... It's not some vast conspiracy for Apple or Google to become Big Brother. It's just big companies giving people the features that they want in the only way they can right now. It's ironic how they are in the same boat though. Share your thoughts... and groans...

    Source: Bloomberg 1 and Bloomberg 2 and SlashGear and BGR and WSJ
     
  2. czerdrill

    czerdrill Silver Member

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    Those two Android users in Michigan are idiots, plain and simple. "OMGGG, my smartphone knows where I am!!"...some people are such paranoid fools.
     
  3. JohnnytheK

    JohnnytheK Senior Member

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    Ak! Mulder was right they're tracking us!

    Skynet will know where each and everyone of us is located.

    sigh,,,,we're doomed,
     
  4. kodiak799

    kodiak799 Silver Member

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    I tend to agree, but I do understand the "slippery slope" argument. Although the people who care are mainly paranoid or doing something they shouldn't (oh no, what if my wife gets this data to prove I've been cheating in a divorce?!?)

    And correct me if I'm wrong, but seems like there's been a pop-up for some time about enabling this feature and that google would be able to track my data, etc... Don't know about the IPhone but I think Google is covered here.
     
  5. czerdrill

    czerdrill Silver Member

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    I agree on whether you should be told or not, but I believe Apple has already commented that it's in the EULA. So...even if you didn't read it, they're covered there I'm sure.

    And yes, the people who care are the ones who have something to hide. But even still, it's not identifiable information. So even if it fell into malicious hands, no hacker is going to email your wife "hey czerdrill was at the brothel this afternoon" haha...it's completely anonymous data, so people suing Google for $50M for this are just losers looking for a payday.
     
  6. cush2push

    cush2push Premium Member Premium Member Developer

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    i didnt read it i hope im not the next human centipad lol
     
  7. czerdrill

    czerdrill Silver Member

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    i didn't read it either, but I doubt that's Google or Apple's problem...its not like they didn't tell me. Because I chose not to read it, doesn't somehow absolve me of following it.
     
  8. Snow02

    Snow02 Active Member

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    I have nothing to hide, but don't care to be tracked. If information is anonymized, I'm ok with that. But there is no good reason for there to be a database of my location at all times. There should absolutely be an opt-out option for those iphone users.
     
  9. jkhonea

    jkhonea DF Super Moderator

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    I think I read there is an update coming down from Apple to address just this. I need to sync my wife's iPhone tonight to see if it hit yet. There were some details about this just the other day.
     
  10. czerdrill

    czerdrill Silver Member

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    Yeah the opt-in thing I can agree with, and yeah it is anonymous. No one is going to figure out where you specifically were by looking at that data. I believe Apple said they are going to include an opt-in choice in their next OS version (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

    Either way is fine for me...I don't care if they track my phone, because I don't have some false sense of privacy or security. You'd be surprised to know the actual lack of privacy that exists in the world regardless of your mobile phone. if someone wants to know where you are, they'll eventually find you, especially if you're online in anyway.
     
  11. czerdrill

    czerdrill Silver Member

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    Ah there you go, yeah I just said that, and thought I had read that too.
     
  12. jkhonea

    jkhonea DF Super Moderator

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  13. pylopor

    pylopor Member

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    This argument is stupid. If you have an old ass flip phone and go missing they can track where you are if you turn it on. When you download an app it clearly states whether it tracks you or not, and with an android you can turn off location. If people don't like it they should not have a cell phone.
     
  14. jkhonea

    jkhonea DF Super Moderator

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    The issue isn't as much the tracking ability as the storing of the data, especially in an unencrypted form, that has people upset. Me, personally, I don't much care. But I do see how the storage of a location history in an unencrypted fashion can cause people to be upset.
     
  15. New2u

    New2u DF Super Moderator

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    I think you hit the nail on the head. There was also an article that came out about cops taking user data from their phones when they stop them on speeding charges and the what nots. Now of course some people know this is illegal, but keep unencrypted data just laying around is screaming for someone to abuse it. The equipment they use is not all that hard to get your hands on either. So it definitely screams divorce problems if you could just download an app that would read that data and send it to an email address or anything like that.
     
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