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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'
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.
"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.
"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."