Apple Testifies at Mobile Privacy Hearing

By , May 10, 2011

Ever since the location bug was revealed in iOS, mobile privacy has been garnering a lot of attention. So much attention in fact, that Apple has been called to participate in a U.S. Senate panel discussion on the topic, courtesy of Al Franken.

If you haven’t heard by now, Apple vice president Bud Tribble was sent by the Cupertino company to the hearing to set the record straight about location tracking in iOS. Not only has Apple corrected the location bug, they are apparently taking further steps to protect their user’s privacy…

The secret cache file that indadvertedly stored user location history was patched in Apple’s recent iOS update. Although the file still exists, it has been downsized tremendously and can be deleted by disabling location services in the Settings app.

MacRumors is reporting that Apple is looking to take things one step further by encrypting the downsized file, starting with the next major iOS release. The site shares a quote from Tribble at the hearing, concerning the security update:

“The local cache is protected with iOS Security features, but it is not encrypted. Beginning with the next major release of iOS, the operating system will encrypt any local cache of the hotspot and cell tower location information.”

Obviously, the vice president is referring to iOS 5, which will be unveiled early next month. Will they take special care to mention the new security features in their keynote? Luckily there’s just a few weeks left until WWDC.

Are you glad Apple is encrypting the local cache file? Or is Sen. Al Franken the only one who cares about the location bug?

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  • http://tipb.com Guillermo

    Apple can track me anytime

    • Tin Nguyen

      Me too. I have no problem with Apple (or anybody for that matter) knowing where I am.

  • http://twitter.com/Undertow851 Thomas Gardner

    I don’t mind the tracking info. With that info, what does the general public expect them to do with it? What are they worried about? Sending goons to end you?

    Location data can serve you, in order to give you discounts at check-in places, like Google, or to advertise more effectively. I’ve learned to tune out ads, but if one came along for a store that I drove by every day, what’s the harm? People whine too much.

    If anything negative came out of it I’m sure it would warrant a change at that time. At this point, I really don’t care :/

  • neal

    hey, if my iphone get stolen and i can use that service to track my phone.. I welcome the tracking device

  • Nick

    You people are the reason Skynet will come into existence.

  • erin

    my iphone got stolen and apple couldn’t do anything for me apparently. oh and that ‘find my iphone’ app won’t work if whoever swipped your phone turns it off or pulls your sim card. not that i don’t like my new android (needed something cheap) but i miss my iphone

  • Topsy

    If I see an iphone on the floor, I’ll pick it put it off. The next time the phone will be on is when I’m doing a restore. Fuck FindMyPhone service. It’s the greates April fool of our time.

  • MrAnonymous

    If you are a drug dealer or some kind of criminal, I can see why you wouldn’t want location tracking. But if you are a regular law-abiding citizen, I see no reason why you’d want to hide this information or why you’d even care. In fact, if you go missing or have been kidnapped, this location tracking could actually SAVE YOUR LIFE.

  • Douglas JC Simmons

    I have no concerns about having my location tracked and stored. Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

  • Robson

    But what if they could watch what you’re doing, some sort of big brother thing using the iPhone camera?
    Wouldnt that be creepy

  • tonkatuph

    So does this mean the plans for our government to track how many miles we drive is off the table now? Or do they still plan to track us in the near future because as long as the government can make a buck off us, its perfectly legal to invade our privacy.

  • Sot0

    So much for cylay : (