Steve Jobs replies to email regarding location tracking, Apple now facing legal action

iPhone records your location information, stores it on your PC

One of MacRumors readers has supposedly managed to get an email response from Apple CEO, Steve Jobs regarding the recent location tracking controversy

The question:

<

blockquote>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.

The answer:

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

As if on queue, Bloomberg is now reporting that two customers from Tampa, Florida have filed a federal complaint against Apple, citing that the company is secretly recording and storing the location and movement of iPhone and iPad users.

What do you think? Is Apple in the wrong or is this another media-manufactured contro

[MacRumors, Bloomberg]

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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Steve Jobs replies to email regarding location tracking, Apple now facing legal action

93 Comments

From what I understand, all the recent phones with GPS do it but it's not something anyone could really access that easily. Am I understanding this wrong?

Anybody with access to your iphone or your computer (and Apple) can easily see where you've been

umm, of course you track people, i mean, even on my GPS-lacking iPod, I can see wherever I used Wi-Fi! >.>
ahh Steve, how will you handle locationgate? (well, they can't do it like they did with antennagate)

Your phone records your movements...but it's never sent to anybody, so...no, apple isn't tracking you at all.

Your iPhone LOGS triangulation points for data archiving. Your carrier LOGS your location points. Apple doesn't TRACK or LOG anything.
You honestly think Steve & Co. actually care about you and your frequent trips to Starbucks and/or the OBGYN?

U'r kinda wrong... It's not due to the GPS, it's actually related to the carriers antenas. So, its not that precise... at all.

Tracking someone with out their consent is just wrong. It doesn't matter if Steve jobs is the god of the tech indrusty. Its wrong. Plain and simple. If they are tracking then he needs to face the music come on out and say so be a MAN and not like everyone else and hide berhind closed doors.

To agree to something you have to know you're agreeing to it. If you didn't know, you didn't agree, regardless of what you may have signed digitally.

All phones even dumb phones can be located using a similar method. That's how E911 works, the emergency services triangulate the location of the call from pings made by the phone to multiple cell phone towers while it tries to make contact.
This information is recorded.
This is also the same method used by GMC for the onstar system and that is how they can locate a stolen vehicle so quickly.
Talk about being tracked, they don't tell you if they are tracking you or whether they are recording this information. Time to get answers from General Motors!

Hello I thank it's so very wrong of apple to track me or any one dam do we have any rights left in this world, I live in Tampa, FL my self look send me email or on twitter as trapjaw72 I'll go to court as well I'll sign up...

You should probably focus on education and learning how to speak/write/type and not some get rich scheme/lawsuit

OK ... as I see it ... if I am understanding all the details, Apple is NOT tracking our phones. Unlike Android or Windows phones, nothing is sent out according to the investigators who started this. So, we are in possession of our own information. Yes, I do think the data can be purged when a week old or so, or daily or whatever. And, we do agree to this every time that location based app we downloaded asks if you agree to using location based services.
For me, I am happy to have the phone be smart enough to know that when I look up the nearest Starbucks, I mean near me. Not half way across the country. THAT is the reason and purpose of the data. And it is stored so that we don't have to wait that minute or two while it locks on to the GPS satellites.
OK ... I'm done ... just my 2¢. It is my opinion and you are entitled to yours.

What a shame that we have turned into such a litigious society -- anything for a quick buck, eh? It's also a shame that so many media outlets, be they print, television, or even Internet, are so quick to report on "alarming" news without actually doing any research. The blame probably falls on the higher-ups who demand their reporters to submit such stories in order to boost their ratings and/or number of page hits. Check out the link at the end of my post -- I think the author did a superb job of researching the info contained within thess files, as well as explain what is actually being logged and why. http://geothought.blogspot.com/2011/04/scoop-apples-iphone-is-not-storin...

do people really think that electronic trails don't exist for phones and computers? there brains have been deleted, lol!

With the amount that people share their "places" on Facebook, tweet about a place on twitter, "check in" to a place on apps like Foursquare and Yelp!, do people really think that data being stored LOCALLY on the phone/computer is that big a deal. I'm pretty sure that if Steve Jobs, knowing he's in a legal situation now, were to say that Apple doesn't use the data or track people, then it's the truth. Plus, if people are really disturbed by this, go to Android and see what data isn't given away to companies (and I'm not talking about just Google). Think of all the things Google had to change with AdMob just to be able to keep it running on the iPhone because of all of it's data information being sent to companies. People need to stop being so ignorant! Just my thoughts....

Well does it make any difference really?????
Everywhere I use my credit card it is recorded. Not only that but the credit card company knew that I was 290 miles away and phoned me up within seconds of swiping my card to confirm if the transaction was genuine!
I don't hear anyone whining about them doing that but it's tracking and not only that, they use this information and they mail it to you and your spouse or anyone that decides to read your mail gets to see this as well!
Whether people like it or not "Big Brother" has been here for decades.
Oh and your cell phone company does record information about your usage anyway, that's how they bill you and they know where you were when you made the calls.
They know that I was made calls in King City California, Paso Robles California, on the I-5 just as I entered Los Angeles County, they also know that I called someone while I was filling up my Gas tank in Hemet/San Jacinto California while going from one client to the other and to another.
Oh and anyone that gains access to your vehicle GPS device also knows exactly where you have been, how long the trip took and an estimation of the amount of Gas that your vehicle used (If it is Garmin), again this information is recorded but it is not used by anyone.
If I wanted to be paranoid about things it's not being tracked by anyone that I am going to be paranoid.
People need to chill and remember that unless you have something to hide then you should not worry about it.
I am happy that the credit card company knew that my card was being used in an area that I do not normally go to (and doubt whether I will be back there again). I am happy that I have records of my travel on my GPS, it helps me work out the locations I have been.
Do I give a **** about whether my iphone or my ipad or any other device tracks me? No guesses at my answer!

what a genius you are "Stew"
Have you thought about the fact that you have a choice not to use credit cards, but with this apple tracking device you don't?

If I was worried about being tracked I wouldn't use ANY MOBILE PHONE! Neither Smart or Dumb Variety.
Cell phone companies keep the same type of information about usage.
Jeesh I can't believe how many people are so worried and paranoid.
All aboard the Paranoia Express leaving on platform one!
If Apple has the ability or urge to track me then let them track me.

Curious as to how many apps the two plaintiffs have allowed location access for. If more than none, I consider their case weak. On my iPhone, 54 apps have been allowed to access my position, yet in the past 24 hours, only 4 indicate they have done so...and that was due to a 6-hr drive, so I had NAVIGON, TRAFFIX, & Google Maps running.

TiPb - take the next step for us and see if you can replicate the steps necessary to extract the location data from one of your phones? Either it's bogus or it's not. I can't believe none of the other media outlets hasn't already tried to close the loop on this.

All cell phones track where you are, it's a safety feature. Because if someone is missing they can locate the person through either the phone's GPS or the cell signal. The carrier and manufacturer can track your location if they wanted to.
The people who are filing these lawsuits are people who are either really stupid and don't know what location services mean and think their iPhone is tracking them or already know that cell phones track you and are trying to make money through a lawsuit.
And why would a company want or even care to know where you go? Do you really think that they care that you went to the grocery store?

If they are tracking anything for future releases then I sort of get that from an advertiser's standpoint. But if they are tracking for any other reason then I can see where people are getting upset... But I also don't know why people care... Who the fk is doing something so shady that they would care if a company knew they were at a Burger King. I mean for the love of God why would all these people out there who use one or two of the many "Check In" Apps to check into their own fking house's be pissed about this?.. I mean AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint (to name a small portion) ALL have some form or another of tracking in their contracts that everybody signs without reading ha ha.

Apple and Google are both guilty of this. And a buttload of other companies. Just one of the expected hassles brought by technology. I do however mind corporations tracking me more than the CIA wondering if I'm a terrorist. One's a dumbass but is somewhat good for us.
The other (Corporations) exist to take your money. Of coarse that's why it'a a business but their still sleezy.
I'd say no tracking at all should be around but it's naive to believe that.

The iPhone is a government tracking device that allows you to execute games and music on the device itself. It's guaranteed to be kept in your purse or pocket at all times. It is so powerful, it will have you addicted to your device. Think about it.
Okay, now repeat after me... "Herd Mentality"
"hye em yes"
-please don't hate us for being smart. hate yourself for being stupid.

what a waste of time. what's next? first this stupid finger blocking signal crap and now this tracking crap. People should pick up a book and read more often and stop this wasting time.

They are only wrong in the sense that they have a longstanding [??] bug that needs patching. Other than that, the same people w/ the suit will complain about not having any tracking history if nothing was there. :)

In today's electronic age, assume everything is recorded and tracked. If you are that worried about it, or have something to hide, leave your smartphone at home or turn it off!
Somebody is always WATCHING!!!

Steve seems to be directly contradicting Apple's official response to Congress, where they say not only that they need this information, but that they reswrve the right to share it with others. http://bit.ly/ibvfxc
(Bruce Sewall is corporate counsel for Apple).
“To provide the high quality products and services that its customers demand, Apple must have access to the comprehensive location-based information,” Sewall told Congress in the letter.
After emphasizing Apple’s commitment to users’ privacy, Sewall said that to provide these location-based services, Apple, its partners and licensees, may collect, use and share customers’ precise location data, including GPS information, nearby cell towers and neighboring Wi-Fi networks.
So they not only collect data, they share it with partners. This is not necessarily evil, but, if google was doing this, there would not be enough torches and pitchforks to go around.

You need to speak Troll language for these ifools to understand. They need to pull their heads out of Steve Jobs's anus and realize that these billion dollar companies don't give a flying f*ck about their customers. They care about $$$.

I don't want them to care about me. I want them to care about making $$$ with the best products possible for us ifools.

Are people really this stupid? A cell phone, be it an iPhone, an Android-based phone, or a Moto Razr, is just that, a CELLULAR PHONE. This means it uses CELL TOWERS to get and send signals, duh. Therefore, if you want to drive across town while yapping away on your phone, or if you choose to use every free wifi hotspot you can find you HAVE to understand that you are giving this info up willingly. Then again, if you are not doing something wrong... Who cares?

I really don't care. Verizon can see my location and where I am. When I call 911 they can find my location. When I walk in the city, people can see my location, strangers all around. Even the government and their freedom act or whatever allows them to listen in on my phone, anytime.
So really, am I concerned about some graph showing a general location of me? no.

Would anyone like to link arms and skip with me down the road to the grocery store. I want to buy foil so we can make foil hats. :)

People need to read the whole story and understand the facts. iPhones, droids and other smartphones store location data based soley on the cell towers that it has connected with. It does not keep triangulated location data. It does not keep GPS data. General location data that covers square miles. Yes, square miles. This data let's it know where it is so that it can maintain cell service in the most efficient manner to support you, the user. You signed on the dotted line accepting this service when you agreed to your service contract. Apple, AT&T, vereizon, do not receive any of this data.

Funny how the Apple fanboys complained about Google tracking.
Now that Apple does it its ok.
Except Google asks your permission, while Apple tracks you without it.
The investigations have shown the tracking data is copied to the PC without permission, and periodically sent to Apple without permission. Apple tracks you. Apple lies to you. But its ok because its Apple.
Its about time to take Apple down a notch for their lies and bs

Apple had me chained up in a basement and tortured me for ten years. I love Apple. Their lies, and BS, and products are the best! :)

FFS people what makes you think you have to carry any kind of device with you ALL THE TIME? Lol of course you do, you are all nerds.

Are you guys @#@ing stupid? the Data that is being tracked is LOCAL data on the iPhone you idiots. in other words, for this to even be something that matters someone would need to steal your iPhone from you. This data is not being BEAMED up to some sort of central authority or server farm.
jesus christ

You all acting like if apple is gonna send someone to kill you at McDonalds because they know you are there lmao

New food for thought ... let us say that all location recording of any kind were eliminated from all cellular devices by some savior of a Senator. A few weeks later a child is abducted. Because of the new "Franken Law", she can not be found. But fortunately, her privacy is intact.
I can shut off location services on my iPhone and my childrens' 2 iPhones. But I don't. I like that I can locate them if I choose. And, I am confident that the password I have in place with MobileMe will keep others from viewing the same information.
Food for thought...

I couldn't give a rat's nest who's tracking me, and yes the President was born in the US and Donald Trump is a moron, but who cares. NSA watches everyone too, but we don't go and file suit.

Really interesting to see so many people not caring about privacy just because this is an Apple product. I remember when there was a rumor that Windows was sending information about your computer back to Microsoft. The pitchforks were out faster than you could say Redmond.
But really, does anybody think that Steve Jobs, while on medical leave, is wasting his time bickering with angry customers?

There isn't any privacy...it's like you guys are scared trained assassins are coming your way...if you don't want to be tracked...DONT USE THE PHONE!

If somebody has the time, money & patience to track me I say go ahead, no skin off my nose....
I enjoy my occasional walk through the countryside, or trip to the DIY store. Heck most people know where I work anyway.
Who cares?!
As long as my wife never works out how to use this technology I'm safe as houses down the pub/ golf course on the odd occasion ;
Let me just verify this facts with my bothered-o-meter .... nope ... not bothered!!

The people we should be more concerned about are the cell service providers. I guarantee they are tracking and recording everything.

The issue is the way or how the "tracked" data is stored..." It alleges that Apple violated federal computer fraud laws and consumer fraud and deceptive trade practice laws in many states by implementing the undisclosed feature, which records users' positions thousands of times daily and stores it to a permanent internal database."
In regards to Google Android..."By contrast, Google, makers of the wildly popular Android OS, regularly collects location data, though it only stores a small amount of it locally. It regularly wipes this store and reportedly takes steps to preserve users' anonymity."
What could make the filings crediable, one of the person who filed, Pete Warden, is a former Apple software engineer. Sure apple will say disgruntled employee. but...
**** Source is from dailytech.com http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=21472

To me this "tracking" is like cacheing a cookie while online. It helps our devices perform faster. If it had to reprocess that info from scratch everytime we'd complain that our devices were too slow. If you are still paranoid about it, it's super simple to turn off all location services under the settings app. However, then you have to manually enter your location for things like weather apps, "around me" apps, etc. So long as the only way to access the GPS info is directly from my iPod or synced computer I don't care. If I lost my iPod the chances the person who finds it is going to know how or even want to see where I've been are slim. Theyd probably just be thinking, "Cool, a free iPod!"

Simple question

  • does the data leave my phone and end up on a server somewhere ?
    • does that data tie to me as an individual ?
    • is the data transferred outside of the European Community without my permission ?
    • game over Mr J

I do not know about any controversy with Apple But I can tell you one thing for certain, The Apple Corporation is an amazing company to work for and most other companies should learn from how they run their organization! My son works for Apple in the San Francisco Store location and had a freaky thing happen to his back two herniated disks at one time when he was at home was rushed to emergency and has been in the hospital since Wednesday. Apple has handled the insurance and Zach is covered they are working with him to help him with his recovery and financial aid and they are very understanding about covering his shifts and not making him feel as though his employment is at stake like many companies do. Zach has worked with Apple for a couple of years and he loves his job. Steve Jobs is not only a genius with technology but with the running of his corporation. He understands that you need to take care of the people who take care of you, and I am here to tell you they do just that so take all of the rumors and gossip and file it on your dell.

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