Over the past week, the tech world has been up in arms over reports that Apple’s iPhone and 3G-iPad have been silently recording their users’ whereabouts. Apple, true to form, has maintained a wall of impenetrable silence — until today, that is.
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.”
And here’s how Jobs allegedly responded:
“Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.”
Indeed, it’s not believed that Apple is actually tracking anyone. However, the fact that iOS devices are actively recording the locations of users appears to be demonstrably true. The “false” info that Jobs is referring to erroneous reports that Apple is somehow monitoring customers, which, again, isn’t believed to be the case.
Now for the “yes they do” part. Shortly after the iOS location-tracking became published last week, The Guardian UK revealed that Android devices were also similarly engaging in location-tracking, likely without the knowledge of users. Android’s variety of location-tracking appears to be much more limited in terms of how much information is retained and the file is never transferred to a computer (Android lacks the syncing feature of iOS). As is the case with iOS, it’s not believed that any of the information that Android gathers and retains is being transmitted.