iOS4: Apple to Start Collecting User Location Data

Published on
by
the Telegraph/UK

iOS4: Apple to Start Collecting User Location Data

Apple is collecting real-time geographical location data from its users to 'improve its products and services'

by
Claudine Beaumont

Apple's new Iphone. (Photo: Apple)

Apple
has
amended its privacy policy to give it the ability to collect user
location
data. The changes are part of Apple's new iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
operating system, iOS4, and users must give their explicit consent for
the
data to be collected.

Users are prompted to agree to the new terms and conditions when they
download
apps, music or movies from the iTunes store. Apple said that the data
was
anonymous, and could not be used to personally identify individual
users. It
said that the information could also be used by its partners and
licensees
to help improve services, content and advertising.

"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,"
reads the new section of Apple's privacy policy.

"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."

Users can switch off some aspects of geo-location, by going to the new
Location Services tab under the General menu in Settings.

Apple's mobile advertising platform, iAd, goes live on July 1, and
location-based information might be useful to advertisers in order to
deliver targeted adverts, or offers relevant to specific shops or
restaurants in a certain area.

Users can opt-out of receiving targeted adverts, said Apple, but they
would
still see adverts of one kind or another.

"Apple and its partners use cookies and other technologies in mobile
advertising services to control the number of times you see a given
ad,
deliver ads that relate to your interests, and measure the
effectiveness of
ad campaigns," said Apple's privacy policy. "If you do not want to
receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you
can opt
out by accessing the following link on your device:
http://oo.apple.com.

"If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile
ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on
your
interests. You may still see ads related to the content on a web page
or in
an application or based on other non-personal information. This
opt-out
applies only to Apple advertising services and does not affect
interest-based advertising from other advertising networks."

Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, said the company wanted to be
transparent
about the kind of personal data it was gathering and what it would be
used
for.

"We take privacy extremely seriously," said Jobs at last month's D8
technology conference in California. "Privacy means people know what
they're signing up for. In plain English, and repeatedly, that's what
it
means. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop
asking if
they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what
you're
going to do with their data."

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