For China, the iPhone location tracking feature is a “national security concern”

By , Jul 11, 2014

tim cook china mobile

The WSJ is out this morning with a piece based on a report recently broadcasted on the state-run China Central Television, quoting the iPhone location tracking feature as a “national security concern.” Nevermind the fact that you can turn off the feature.

As the largest market, one that is greatly untapped, China is a big bet for Apple, and just about any other company. With 6% of the Chinese smartphone market share, Apple is trailing behind the competition, most notably, Samsung, and Xiaomi, but it didn’t stop the Chinese broadcaster to make Apple the main target…

In its national noon broadcast, state-run China Central Television criticized the “frequent locations” function in Apple’s iOS 7 mobile operating system, which records time and location for the owner’s movements. The report quoted researchers who said that those with access to that data could gain knowledge of China’s economic situation or “even state secrets.”

CCTV doesn’t necessarily reflect the sentiment of Chinese leaders, but it’s still a very influential media that has had its run at Apple and various other companies in the past. Just last year, the same China Central Television accused the Cupertino company to be discriminating against Chinese consumers via its warranty policy, which led Tim Cook to publish an open letter apologizing.

Go read the full WSJ article here and come back here to tell us what you think.

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  • 5ingularity

    This is just so they can direct attention away from their own issues. We do the same when we have issues in our government, blame china for something. However, China claims that even with the feature turned off, the iPhone can still record your location and sending it to apple

    • Jason

      Good point! Another one is they just don’t like Apple and try to keep people away from Apple products. The reason why they hate Apple? Well, probably it’s the app store is not in their control, they don’t decide which apps to hit shelves. I am from China, I know that. Everything is supposed to be in their control.

  • @dongiuj

    This is a DonGiuj concern too.

  • JustAnAverageUser

    It’s a legitimate concern with all those NSA Snowden leaks.

    However, it’s safe to say that both governments spy on each other and its citizens.

    • hkgsulphate

      nope. China spies on its citizens so that they won’t have a chance to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party
      for the same reason they blocked facebook, twitter and youtube etc., and recently LINE

      • Bugs Bunnay

        totally agree. its not the Chinese’ fault, it’s their leaders. one day those communist leaders are going down and people of china can have real freedom of choice

  • Jeff

    Have PanGu make a jailbreak for that..

  • Bugs Bunnay

    National security concern for them about the iPhone, but a-ok to have Trojans in their own smart phones.

    Quoted from an article on the web and I believe it was on msn some time ago: “the Star N9500 smartphone, a popular and cheap handset device in China, comes pre-installed with Uupay.D Trojan horse, disguising as a version of the Google Play Store”.

    Another quote “The nasty Spyware runs in the background and has capability to steal personal information, copy users’ data, record calls automatically with unlimited time and send costly SMS to premium services, thereby sending all the stolen information to an anonymous server based in China”.
    And they are worried about location tracking feature?? Hah!

  • Ibrahim R.I.AlBoraey

    if you think that other devices doesn’t do so, you are in mistake, all devices do the same, Apple tells you that we they will do, and you have to agree about that so they can get the information. I’m in China, what I see is the people agree without reading what they are agreeing about, and most op the people downloads pirated apps, that could lead to info leak, I know some people who uses iDevices, and they don’t even have Apple ID!!