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.