Of Course Your iPhone is Watching You

Written by Allison Krumm. Posted in Featured, Trends

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on April 21, 2011 with 5 Comments

Oh, the places KeyPulp has been. Apple knows them all.

Let’s not be naive. There are multitudes of social media tools that utilize location as a key proponent of their operation. Geotagging is prevalent in mega-sites Twitter and Facebook. Apps you use to tell your network of internet friends where you are or where you’ve been—Foursquare, Yelp, Gigwalk, SCVNGR (curiously, at the time of this posting, SCVNGR and Foursquare both seem to be down)—all utilize the GPS of your MacBook, iPhone, iPad … so why then, is anyone surprised that Apple is keeping record of that data, too? Isn’t Apple your Internet friend, too? I mean, you did buy every product it released this decade, right?

Here’s another thing that should take the shock of finding out Apple’s storing your location in a hidden big-brother database: Have you ever used your Google Maps app for turn-by-turn directions? Ever realize it can find your “current location” or store the addresses of places you’ve already been?

Okay, admittedly you can turn all of those features off if you’re not exactly enamored with being digitally followed. And Apple’s not saying why it’s storing the data, which makes some people uncomfortable. (Sidenote: Even retail stores survey this type of information. Why are they asking you for your zip code? It’s not to verify the credit card you’re using belongs to you, it’s so they can survey the locational data of their customers to know where it might be smart to build a new store, or focus their advertising. What’s Apple going to do with it really? Sell it? No, they’re too secretive. They might invent a bigger better Groupon, though, or possibly beam brand new products directly into your head.) But surprised? Come on, now. You’re not surprised. Admit it—you’re a little bit intrigued, you techno-nerd, you. And lucky for you, we know how to Google. Pete Warden’s got the break-down.

About Allison Krumm

During the day Allison serves as the Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts. At night she quite likes judging things that play in darkened theaters and cinemas, taking photos of live arts events, and attending elaborately themed costume parties cooked up with various co-conspirators. Allison has two almost (but not quite) completely useless film degrees that have taught her everything she knows about weaving tall tales. She aspires to one day be half as awesome as Patti Smith and cares not a whit about split infinitives. | 

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5 Comments

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  1. All cell phones track and record locations.

    • 100% true, but this is interesting because they’re apparently not beaming it home to Apple servers. Why log all this location data on the device? Again, interesting.

  2. Well, this would explain why SCVNGR was down when I wrote this. The sky-net is falling. (Not ‘SKYNET’, that would be… well, worse). http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/21/technology/amazon_server_outage/index.htm?hpt=T2

  3. Hide your kids. Hide your wife.
    Hide your kids. Hide your wife.
    Hide your kids. Hide your wife.
    An’ hide husband, cause they’re trackin’ e’r’body out here.

  4. Equal opportunity: this guy (http://caffeine.shugendo.org/2011/04/21/iphones-and-location-lets-not-get-hysterical/) said this guy (https://github.com/packetlss/android-locdump) created a similar app for peering at Android’s location data.