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Secret user tracking - Microsoft does it too

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  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    There's been a lot of uproar over Apple's surreptitous? logging of a user's location and nearby wi-fi hotspots on a file stored on the device (that isn't actually transmitted to Apple). Which is fair enough. Sources are suggesting that it's an oversight that will be fixed in the next OS patch (unless you've got a 2G or 3G iPhone, in which case the last update was in 2010).

    Now there's news that not only have Windows Phone 7 devices been logging a user's position, they have been sending the data to Microsoft, all without the explicit permission of the user nor of them even knowing it, it's all vaguely worded as "location services" and only described in honesty on Microsoft's website. If I had a WP7 device I wouldn't have thought to disable the option until now.

    Why yes, I am happy with my iPhone, thank you.

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    Pretty sure it works more or less exactly the same on iOS and Android, btw.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    Really? Did you read any of the article, or more importantly the links to the documentation provided about location services?

    The phone itself doesn't use location services, apps do. When you install an app it clearly tells you that it will use these services and asks if you want to continue with the installation. No personal data is collected. In fact, no data is saved to the phone at all. The data sent to Microsoft is non-personal and isn't retained.

    I'm not sure how much of an issue the Apple kerfluffle really is, but this one is completely in the realm of tin foil hat stupidity.

    @W3bbo, I'm actually really disappointed with you on this one. This is trolling, IMHO, and bad trolling at that.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Wrong thing to turn off. If you don't want to send info to MS, turn off "feedback" NOT  "location". Those are two completely seperate things. "location" is for apps and if you haven't say yes for that particular app, a pop-up will ask you YES/NO. And "feedback" is default to off (if I remember correctly).

     

     

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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    Ray7

    , W3bbo wrote

    There's been a lot of uproar over Apple's surreptitous? logging of a user's location and nearby wi-fi hotspots on a file stored on the device (that isn't actually transmitted to Apple). Which is fair enough. Sources are suggesting that it's an oversight that will be fixed in the next OS patch (unless you've got a 2G or 3G iPhone, in which case the last update was in 2010).

    Now there's news that not only have Windows Phone 7 devices been logging a user's position, they have been sending the data to Microsoft, all without the explicit permission of the user nor of them even knowing it, it's all vaguely worded as "location services" and only described in honesty on Microsoft's website. If I had a WP7 device I wouldn't have thought to disable the option until now.

    Why yes, I am happy with my iPhone, thank you.

    A couple of minor points.

    1/. The problem wasn't with the logging, since all phones record this data so they can remember the best location for WiFi spots and cell towers. The problem was that Apple left the information on the phone without bothering to encrypt it. If the phone was lost then it could be used (in theory) to discover the owners movements (imprecisely). I guess the bigger problem is that applications could surreptitiously use this information to track the phone's owner, even if the user had opted out of location services because Apple is recording this information whether you select locations services or not. 

    2/. You said Apple is not transmitting this information. This is incorrect; iPhones transmit this information back to Apple's servers AND keeps the database on the phone. Apple will carry on transmitting the information, but they will trim the size of the local database so that it only keeps a few day's worth of information.

    More information here, which says nothing about encrypting the data stored locally.

     

  • User profile image
    Minh

    @Ray7, they HAVE to transmit the info back, since they are building a crowd-source database of wi-fi access points. Crowd-sourcing doesn't work if you don't send the info back.

    And whatever is Apple's intent, the information CAN track your phone's location. I'll trust Apple as far as I can throw them. Remember the "we're shocked that our algorithm shows 4 bars where it should show 1?"

    W3bbo is probably caught in that reality distortion field. We need to help him. Anyone has a tractor beam?

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    @Minh: Yup, again the problem is not recording/sending the information. All phones do that (I have no idea why W3bbo thinks the iPhone is any different). What Apple is doing is recording the information and then keeping potentially YEARS of this location data stored on the phone AND on the computer linked to the phone in an unencrypted format. RDF or not, this is a very poor show.

    Microsoft and Google record and transmit, but they do not store it on the phone. 

    Apple claim that storing that much information was caused by a bug in IOS. They also claim that recording the information when location services is turned off is also caused by a separate bug.  Call me skeptical, but if these are the sort of bugs that are making it out of Cupertino then someone in QA needs to be fired.

     

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    How did people think the phone was getting location data when in a city? There's no line-of-sight to the GPS satellites there.

    While it's surprising that Apple was keeping years of data, this whole thing is no big deal in the long run.

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