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Apple and Google spy on their users, tracking their movements

Publication time: 28 April 2011, 14:35

Apple will testify before the US Congress in connection with allegations of spying the location of iPhone and iPad owners, reports All Things Digital referring to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.


"I think Apple will be testifying,' Jobs said. ‘They have asked us to come (to congressional hearing) and we will honor their request, of course," said Jobs.


Public interest about location-data of the owners using Apple gadgets running iOS 4 hit high when last week when two British researchers published the information that has long been known to specialists: Apple devices record the data about movements of the device owners in a very unsecure manner and the data can be accessed by anyone from iPhone, iPad or even the computer with which the iOS device has been synced.

 

A week later, on April 27, the company published on its website a detailed response, which explains that the collection of information about the cell towers and WiFi-hotspots is for geolocation services. This information helps determine the coordinates of user upon his request quickly and accurately.

 

According to the company, geodata file in the iPhone contains the coordinates of not the smartphone, but only the surrounding towers, which can sometimes be located at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers from the user. The data about cellular towers and WiFi-hotspots is encrypted and transmitted from mobile devices to Apple servers safely.

 

"As new technology comes into the society there is a period of adjustment and education," Jobs said. "We haven't - as an industry - done a very good job educating people, I think, as to some of the more subtle things going on here. As such, (people) jumped to a lot of wrong conclusions in the last week," he added.

 

The company announced that storage of data for a long time on iPhone and iPad and operation of the system even after geoservices settings in iOS4 are disabled are because of software bugs that will be corrected in the coming weeks.

 

Meanwhile, the Apple's statements do not explain the main thing: why the company hid this spying service from the customers. In addition, the explanation itself is not reassuring, but on the contrary, it strengthens the suspicion that Apple is intentionally spying on the users.

It is to be recalled thereupon that not only the Apple monitors its users.

According to the results of the investigation by The Wall Street Journal, Google is also spying on the users, collecting information on the location of their clients not only through mobile gadgets, but also using personal computers.

 

As the newspaper writes, if the Apple stores data about the movements of their users through their computers Macintosh, connected to Wi-Fi, Google does the same through PCs whose owners surf the Internet via a browser Google Chrome.

The scandal surrounding espionage of popular worldwide devices Apple - iPhone and iPad broke out last week, when experts on information security Alasder Allan and Pete Worden said that smart phones and company's tablet PCs monitor their owners and store data about their movements for at least one year.

Then it was reported that the gadgets running OS Google Android have similar functions.

 

Now personal computers are listed as spy devices.

"They obtain the information about the location after the computer scans the surrounding area for available Wi-Fi networks, typically after the users give a website the permission to determine the computer's approximate location", the newspaper writes.

 

According to the newspaper, both companies have already reported about that to the regulators. Each of them claims that the storage of such data is strictly confidential and "does not pursues any hidden intentions". However, this explanation is worth nothing when you consider that both companies are actively collaborating with secret services and that Google is considered to be a CIA project. 

 

Department of Monitoring

Kavkaz Center


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