Apple Knows Where You Are

Apple now tracks you “precisely” via your iPhone or iPod Touch if it is running iOS 4. Don’t believe me? It’s true. In fact, if you read the June 21st version of their privacy policy you might notice this little gem:

“To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.

Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe ‘Find My iPhone’ feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.”

Scared yet?

You really shouldn’t be. Apple is now in the business of selling advertisements (remember the AdMob fiasco with Google) with their iAd service. Location based ads are the new thing, and part of the natural evolution of the industry. Google has been doing the same thing for a while now with its Android OS based phones. If you are genuinely worried, you can opt out of the iAd service here with your phone (however, ZDNet is reporting that the link is not working). Another option is to go to your iOS 4 powered device’s settings and disable applications from using the data (Settings > General > Location Services).

In the grand scheme of things, Mark Zuckerberg is a far more dangerous opponent than Apple when it comes to your privacy and personal information. After all, his Facebook knows pretty much everything about you. And we all know his opinion on privacy via his now infamous IM exchange with a friend when he was 19 after just having started Facebook, “Zuck: They ‘trust me’…Dumb *expletive*.”

For the truly paranoid about privacy, good old pre-paid phones are available, and a Facebook account is a no-no. The rest of us will just have to opt-out and be more careful about the information that we share. Have an opinion on Apple’s move to give us targeted advertisements? Let me know.

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