iTrack iRoundup: Apple Tracks You, Android Tracks You. Who to Believe?
On a cold and windy day, when you are staring at your Mac and your iPhone simultaneously, gushing up coffee and getting those files ready for your boss, little might you have realized that secretly your smartphone might be leaking quite a lot of your personal data to its manufacturers.
The world's biggest tech company, Apple, has come under the scanner recently for apparently collecting location data from the users of its iPhones and iPads. And now, the Wall Street Journal says that Android is snagging the same data and sending it to Google.
Researching on the extent of loss of privacy of such users, security analyst Samy Kamkar, with the help of his HTC Android smartphone, said the device "transmitted the name, location and signal strength of any nearby Wi-Fi networks, as well as a unique phone identifier," and sent it to Google multiple times in an hour. Google, obviously, didn't not comment on the matter.
Coming back to Apple, the Associated Press said that privacy watchdogs and congressmen have contacted Apple regarding the issue, and want to know the reason behind the iPhones and iPads collecting such discrete data of its users without their permission.
"Apple needs to safeguard the personal location information of its users to ensure that an iPhone doesn't become an iTrack," says Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., in a statement to the AP.
But that's not it. This location-tracking issue has become so serious that there is a huge cause for concern in South Korea as well as in Europe. Apparently, South Korea’s communications regulator has launched an investigation of Apple following last week’s revelation that iOS devices are quietly recording time-stamped location information.
"How often the data is collected, whether or not users have the ability to delete the information and if any files are transmitted to Apple’s servers" are few of the questions that Apple is sweating to answer, reports Bloomberg.
While this was the South Korean Communications Commission's side of Apple's interrogation, the European big-wigs didn't want to feel left behind. Tech-savvy Senator Al Franken, Congressman Ed Markey, officials from France, Germany and Italy all got into the action, demanding a written reply from the Cupertino giant, defending its actions.Continued on the next page