Cupertino, Calif. – Apple (NASD: AAPL) has released a statement denying
that it has been tracking or logging the location of iPhone users, but
acknowledged it had not provided enough information about the data it is
collecting and plans to alter its practice via a a software update due in the next few weeks. "The
location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or
present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and
cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred
miles away from the iPhone," the company said.
This data is sent in
real-time to Apple in an encrypted and anonymous form, which the company said
is used to improve location services, target ads to those who have expressly
agreed to targeting, and to build a crowd-sourced traffic database for an
improved traffic service Apple plans to introduce in the next couple of years.
company called the fact that it was storing up to a year’s worth of location
data, and logging data on iPhones whose owners had turned off location services
"bugs," which will be addressed in the software update.
the software update will reduce the size of the database cached on the iPhone,
cease backing up of this cache, which will now by encrypted, and delete the
cache entirely when location services are turned off.
Since the revelation last
week of location data being logged by the iPhone and iPad, Apple has been hit
with a class action lawsuit alleging violations of computer fraud laws, and
invited to appear before a Senate subcommittee hearing on consumer privacy in
(DMW previous coverage)