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back to article Apple must be tried for the bug in every fanboi's pocket

Apple will stand trial over accusations that it misled iPhone owners by storing detailed information about their location even when location was switched off, a judge ruled yesterday. Apple had asked for the class action location-tracking case against it to be dismissed, but Judge Lucy Koh of the San Jose District Court in …

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Anonymous Coward

Every single phone makers has this information, it's just that some are better at hiding it than others.

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Anonymous Coward

Has someone conveniently forgotten Android aps that suck data out of your phone?

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Headmaster

Then someone may be welcome to sue them, as well, but no one has. That others may also be guilty does not imply Apple's innocence.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tom

Actually Tom that's not true. Google was also targeted by a class action over this same issue in Android:

Google Faces $50 Million Lawsuit Over Android Location Tracking

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Re: @Tom

Fair enough. My point was more centered around my second sentence, which is that other manufacturers acting with malfeasance does not let Apple off the hook.

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@Met Re: @Tom

Are you talking about this one?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18441845

"Google as well as online advertising agencies, such as AdMarval, Admob, Flurry and Medialets were dismissed from the case completely."

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Go

@P Zero Re: @Met @Tom

No @P Zero, that BBC article is about this article's case against Apple but related to the claim that Google and those advertisers were benefitting from Apple's collected location data. Google was amongst the "third-party app partners were also dismissed" bit mentioned in this article.

If you read my link closely you'll see that the class action against Google over Android's location data collection was actually filed in Detroid, not California. Last time I heard (Sept 2011) that was still ongoing AFAIK.

Here's the original court filing

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Anonymous Coward

Lies

"Third-party apps were able to make use of the data."

No they weren't. Apps could never read the file as it was outside their sandbox.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lies

Unlike the Android tentacles.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lies

Yeah, how dare you claim that our Deity did something unholy to us supplicants.

Fanbois - gotta love 'em.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 1808

I'd rather have news articles making true statements, not making up rubbish. Too many are confused about the whole thing as it is.

Sorry if lies and misinformation are more helpful to your cause.

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Re: Lies

Third party apps definitely were able to make use of the data, though I think not directly on the device. Applications running on a Mac or Windows PC could slurp it out of iTunes device backups (unless the user had chosen to encrypt them, but unencrypted is the default and there's no click-through prompt or anything like that).

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Anonymous Coward

@ThomH

The article implies it was iOS apps running on the device:

"contrast between Apple's promise to protect user data in its App Store and its alleged practice of giving user data to third-party apps without warning"

In addition, prior to the demonstration, there weren't really any apps that a user would install on his Mac or Windows PC which would read the cell tower locations file. Unless you're installing very blackhat stuff of course, but then you'd have other problems.

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Re: @ThomH

Did you miss the use of the word "alleged" in that paragraph?

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Anonymous Coward

Will phone companies be sued too?

After all they also know your phone number, location, age, gender, name and credit card details...

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Re: Will phone companies be sued too?

You gave all of those details to your phone company? Zuckerberg was right about you...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will phone companies be sued too?

Never had a phone on contract? Passed their credit check? Why is it so surprising?

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Happy

Ha

About time Apple were taken down a peg or two.

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Anonymous Coward

Dream on

Google got fined $25,000 for their wide spread Wifi snooping. You really expect this to amount to anything?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dream on

You know what, I can see a point in Google checking wireless signals. How else are nearby wireless networks going to be used to determine a user's location after all? Slurping packets is harder to justify, but I suppose you want to make sure the network's working. Who knows, Google may have been working on a wifi sharing technology? It's wild speculation on my part at best, but it seems reasonable to me that Google just want to increase their ability to serve you more relevant advertising in more ways.

I see this as just like people getting all hacked off that Google are "reading" their email to generate advertisements, no one is actually touching it, an algorithm is just run over the content of the message to pick a relevant advertisement to the content, just in case it takes your fancy.

With all that said, I find it sad that fanbois must deflect criticism from an actual fault their company has made (that is, saying location tracking is turned off but still doing it) to a perceived slight which could possibly and reasonably have a legitimate purpose. Apple reality-distortion field indeed.

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Trollface

Re: Ha

Yeah, how dare those cheeky bastards make a mint selling things people want and with some of the best customer service in the world!

The nerve of them! Don't they know that Windows 8 and ulrabricks are the only way????

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dream on

"Google got fined $25,000 for their wide spread Wifi snooping"

to be honest, I think that was all about google bashing...

Lets face it, You switch on your wifi access point and transmit its SSID then you are near as much saying "here I am," and if its an open hotspot, you are inviting people in.

all google did was map the locations of the hotspots. big deal.....

and whats laughable, in a round about way, they still do it. Whenever you wander about with your android handset, it detects wifi hotspots and logs it along with its location then sends it back to google.

and so what,,, it just aids in quicker and more accurate location services.... people need to be not so paranoid.. the world isn't going to end or google (or 3rd parties) are not going take over your life or the world, just because it knows the SSID and mac address of your router, along with gps cords....

people need to get stuff into perspective

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dream on

>>all google did was map the locations of the hotspots.

Have you actually read the news? Google was storing wifi network traffic (aka payload data), not just the SSIDs and locations.

From the FCC report on the issue: "Engineer Doe developed WiFi data collection software code that, in addition to collecting WiFi network data for Google's location-based services, would collect payload data that Engineer Doe thought might prove useful for other Google services."

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Re: Dream on

RE "to be honest, I think that was all about google bashing...

Lets face it, You switch on your wifi access point and transmit its SSID then you are near as much saying "here I am," and if its an open hotspot, you are inviting people in.".

What utter tosh. If you leave your front door open, are you inviting burglars in? That's essentially what you are saying.

The fact that you have physical access to a place does not automatically give you the right to go there. Same with Google (or any one sniffing wifi). Leaving a network open does not given all and sundry the right to access it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dream on

"What utter tosh. If you leave your front door open, are you inviting burglars in? That's essentially what you are saying."

Its not the same thing at all.... for one, if you leave your front door wide open, then anyone entering would only be trespassing.... if they had to use any force, and that even includes pushing a closed door open, then thats forced entry..

with wifi, If you don't secure it with a key, then a computer or mobile device requests an IP address from the DHCP server and the server GIVES IT and allows access... you could say the same as knocking on a door and the door opening to allow access.... If you secure it, with a key, the router will ask you for your password or key, if you don't know it, it does not allow entry. same as a locked door will deny entry.... you can force it open, but thats as wrong as breaking on entering is....

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Re: Dream on

@ac 17th 21:05

"What utter tosh. If you leave your front door open, are you inviting burglars in? That's essentially what you are saying."

Its not the same thing at all.... for one, if you leave your front door wide open, then anyone entering would only be trespassing.

So what you are saying is that google did do wrong, they trespassed, and kept whatever they got while they were trespassing. Can some of you legal-eagles confirm if that is a tort?

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Re: Dream on

"So what you are saying is that google did do wrong, they trespassed, and kept whatever they got while they were trespassing. Can some of you legal-eagles confirm if that is a tort?"

Um, no... Google kept data that stupid people BROADCAST out to them. Not unlike recording something off the good old FM radio.

What they did possibly breach was copyright laws because they kept a copy of data that was produced by other people and didn't ask permission. Privacy was never an issue as it was all unencrypted - sort of like how if you have an argument on your front lawn, it's no good crying about the neighbors hearing - you should have done something to prevent it leaking into public or neighboring land.

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Re: Dream on

No, they wouldn't be trespassing, they would be "entering the building without the owners consent".

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Silver badge

" Koh dismissed the privacy claim against Apple because the plaintiffs had failed to prove that the data collection and storage caused them any personal injury. "

So long as Koh is also willing to dismiss the statute of limitations so if this data is found to have caused "personal injury" at some point in the future...

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Anonymous Coward

Law

There's a reason the compensation is called "damages".

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Bronze badge

Not a bug

It takes a bit of programming effort to record and file that kind of data. How could that be a bug?

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Anonymous Coward

Actually was

The file was not the bug, it's how the location system works in both iOS and Android (probably others as well). They need a cache of cell towers/wifi locations in order to quickly and efficiently get a location and GPS fix.

In Apple's case the bug was not deleting the file every X days and storing it along with the system backup.

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Re: Actually was

you'd think such a file should reside in /var/tmp - hardly a bug. It's difficult to believe it was just an omission and the file should not be deleted altogether but entries only.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually was

Why /var/tmp? The file is useful across reboots.

Let's take web browser caches as an example:

* Do they place them in /var/tmp? No.

* Do they delete the whole cache, or just older entries? Well older entries, of course.

This cache is the same thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually was

Upvote due to saying intelligent thing so far into the google / apple bashing scenario here.

Nokia, anpr systems, GPS systems etc all store the same things to locate you.

Apples defence of "good outweighs bad" is only relevant if at some point the "bug"(?) saves a life, then all and sundry applaud the "inbuilt feature"

If Google data slurp saved a life, same thing.

All do it, some stealthier / more open / better publicity than others.

A quote from End of Days (devil about god) , "it's all down to point of view, he had the better PR team"

not exact but the drift of it.

Hopefully both Apple and Google will learn, sadly Farcebook data slurp continues unabated.

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Re: Actually was

* Do they delete the whole cache, or just older entries? Well older entries, of course.

That's what I said, deletion of the file makes no sense, so it should not be deleted. Point is: it was ever meant to be deleted entirely it'd be in /var/tmp.

Browser cache is not a good analogy as a browser is an application and there can be multiple browsers run by different users.

That file is a system one, if it's cache: there is /var/cache - that shall not be archived.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Actually was

Some commentards must be getting some really cheap drugs these days.

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Anonymous Coward

...so come on...

...where are you getting them?

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WTF?

yeah right

"Apple said the storage of the data was a bug and issued a fix."

hahahahah , good one

wasnt that google's excuse for collecting wifi data?

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Re: yeah right

There's a big difference, Google was storing the Wifi data on their servers. Apple was storing it on users' phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: yeah right

So gooogles data slurp can be investigated and damages calculated, Apples cannot because they hid the data from any audit of their servers and no fanboi will allow ther phone to be taken away for processing

good one Apple, way to plausible deniability

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They should both face massive fines and complete sanctions. The pot shotting between the two sets of moron fanboys is amusing though, like two people with broken legs laughing at the other for being crippled up.

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Anonymous Coward

Must be fun being clueless.

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

...why don't you tell us all... is it?

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Megaphone

Apple should be punished moreso however, since Google's collection could be prevented by simply turning off the WiFi router or key encryption. Apple TOOK THE ABILITY TO TURN LOCATION SERVICES OFF, and thus there was no way of opting out.

Or is that point completely missed by the fanbois here. In actuality, I think that's the most worrying aspect of this. They simply LIED to their users when their users had the wherewithall to try and prevent tracking. Shamefull, at least Google didn't have the audacity to collect data from routers that were turned off!

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Megaphone

yet another sign that society is failing

soon it will be illegal to experience happiness, but you won't be in any danger of breaking that law, as any tinge of happiness you may have felt years ago has long since been ground out of your brain in a tedious process of humiliation and compulsory self degradation that includes rituals such as buying iphones and acting cool. but now that you are utterly bankrupt of your human characteristics, you begin to wonder why you exist at all, and, it doesnt look good for you i'm afraid. your future is at best, extremely bleak. i can imagine a wealth of ways in which you will probably suffer, it is more than likely im afraid.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: yet another sign that society is failing

For some, following and being part of a crowd does make them happy, they enjoy the validation a large group of like minded people provides. We all crave membership of social groups to a greater or lesser extent. Why are you here on this website, commenting on this article? You feel the need to communicate with your peers.

It must be extremely lonely way up there in that ivory tower of yours.

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Re: It must be extremely lonely way up there in that ivory tower of yours.

I've got broadband and Vaseline.

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>>> "Apple's claim that the benefits of this outweighed the harm to the consumer would have to be tested in court, Koh concluded."

So what if they could prove, by some standard, that the benefits outweighed the harm? That's no excuse for either retaining the data or, more important, falsely claiming the feature was turned off. What's beneficial to you or me is our decision, not theirs.

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Pint

.. include software bugs in ios 5.x.x rendering some iphone 4 and 4S with always mute..

.. had this bug on my iphone 4 for almost 2 years now, as soon as I upgraded to ios 5 and it turns out even those with 4S were also affected, there's thousands of iphones in this state judging from the threads in apple's (self-help) support pages.

and couldnt help but notice the new color scheme of El Reg nowadays.. dominant M$ blue.

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