It looks like Apple is off the hook, at least for now. As an iPhone owner since the 3GS, and an avid Mac user for over a decade, I am satisfied that the iconic tech manufacturing giant is not up to anything nefarious or objectionable to the reasonable person. And I’m not the only educated person who feels this way. Attorney Jeff Richardson, publisher of iPhone J.D. said pretty much the same thing in his post. Richardson added the following bit of advice (which I’ve paraphrased): If you’re really that concerned about the possibility of someone learning where you are or where you’ve been, you probably shouldn’t even carry a cell phone, whether it be an iPhone or something else.
About a week after the NY Times broke the story about the iPhone recording and storing unencrypted GPS location data on users’ phones (see my post here, or just scroll down a bit), Apple broke its silence, with an official statement by the company (read the 4/27/11 press release here), and shortly thereafter, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s CEO—who is currently on medical leave—addressed public outcry in an interview:
We haven’t been tracking anyone. The files they found on these phones, as we explained, it turned out were basically files we have built through anonymous, crowd-sourced information that we collect from the tens of millions of iPhones out there.
Jobs accepted (partial) responsibility for what he referred to as a lack of educating the public about how location data works, and specifically what user data is stored and transmitted. He says that he is “looking forward” to Apple’s trip to Capitol Hill to testify at the mobile data privacy hearing called for by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology & Law. The hearing is scheduled for one week from today. Jobs also said that we (the general public & the press) should now be looking to the other prominent mobile technology providers—whom he implied were far more culpable than Apple—to see how they react to the scrutiny on Apple. “Some of them don’t do what we do,” Jobs said. “That’s for sure.”