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back to article Apple feels heat from Germany for geo-tracking i-customers

Germany’s justice minister has reportedly demanded that Apple “immediately make clear” what data it grabs up from customers who use the company’s products, and for what purpose. According to German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said: “Users of iPhones and other GPS devices must be aware of what …

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Joke

Apple can dump Geo-Tracking

Because 'up their own arse' isn't on any map I've ever read.

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Happy

So how long..

Before Steve claims that Germany drains batteries and a hoard of fanboys claim Germany is dead...

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Headmaster

So glad ...

... Orwell didn't say "Mom".

Although Apple and Google claim he did.

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Big Brother

Hang on...

Steve, being god, knows where everyone is anyway so why does he need iPhone tracking? Does this mean he's not god? Say it aint so!

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Anonymous Coward

Were not collecting location data.

You're just commuting wrong, claims jobs

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Pint

The comparison limps a little.

Google is actively collecting data (as has been pointed out on this website), whereas Apple at least offer the opportunity to turn location services off, rendering much of the data collected less useful (IP address data may still be collected, so statistical analysis may still yield data useful for marketing purposes).

The point being nothing. Your telephone company, somewhat depending on where you are, already collects that data and then some. Otherwise they could not send you an accurate monthly bill, and in some jurisdictions, the telcos are even required by law to keep all connection-related data for a year or even longer. That includes location fixes on where you have used your phone and how you have moved during the conversation, if you did.

The detracting point in Apple's contract is that it allows Apple to sell that data. In most places, telcos are not allowed to do that. In some others (China, the U.S.A.) they are required to hand over the data to any government agency asking for it with or without probable cause.

Back to my point: Google doesn't even give the user an option. They just collect the data, whether the user wants them to or not, no off-switch available except for completely avoiding their services. Which in this day is practically impossible because the major internet search engines are all interconnected and skim data off each other -- so if you send off a search via Yahoo! (or the basically identical Bing, or AskJeeves, or whichever), Google will also get a search request and thereby, your data.

I'm not going to judge. A lot of people these days seem to be happy posting their personal data for the general public to enjoy in places like stayfriends.com or myface or whatever it's called. As with the current version of Apple's contract, they can choose how much they let the service provider know. I personally have always been one to only hand out my personal data when the perceived benefits outweigh the perceived possible damages, so when my phone asks me whether I would like it to send my current location to anybody, I usually say "no."

If you want total privacy, get off the internet. You're not going to get it while connected. Too many entities are in part required to collect your data, can't live without collecting your data, can't bill you, and so on ad infinitum.

Back to the difference, which is the only point here I'll stand behind: there is a difference in going out and collecting data without notice, like Google does, and giving the user an at least partial choice. Nobody is required to use an iPhone, and those who choose to do so can turn off location services without having to resort to a lawyer.

Me, I'm off for a pint or two, in the bar around the corner where the streetlight is malfunctioning, with location services turned off.

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