Apple collecting, sharing iPhone users’ precise locations
Apple Inc. is now collecting the “precise,” “real-time geographic location” of its users’ iPhones, iPads and computers.
When users attempt to download apps or media from the iTunes store, they are prompted to agree to the new terms and conditions. Until they agree, they cannot download anything through the store.
The company says the data is anonymous and does not personally identify users. Analysts have shown, however, that large, specific data sets can be used to identify people based on behavior patterns.
An increasing number of iPhone apps ask users for their location, which is then used by the application or even uploaded to the app’s maker. Apps like the Twitter application Tweetie and Google Maps make frequent use of location data, either to help the user get oriented geographically or to associate the user’s action with a specific location (as when a tweet is geotagged).