Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Apple's Location data-mining: My View

There has been a great deal of who-ha of late regarding the location data that the iPhone generates and backs up to iTunes whenever the iPhone is synchronised.
Many have commented on this issue, banging on about how Apple are collecting this information and the use of this data that they may have.

Well Apple have responded and in that response they claim that the data they collect cannot identify the users of iPhone's themselves and that the amount of data collected is just a bug.

Read Apples response in full here.

While many will disagree with my views on this, I will continue regardless.

I purchased an iPhone because I wanted the features it provides, the apps, the speed, the simplicity.
If Apple were not collecting the information it does based on both how and where I use my iPhone then how could they possibly develop the product further to increase the iPhones usefulness to me?

If (thats a BIG if) the data they collected said that "Daniel sat on the toilet for 25 minutes" while constantly reporting back to Apple what web pages I was reading, how much of that 25 minutes was spent playing whichever game, that Twitter updates I sent and snapped a few photo's for Steve Job's personal collection - then I would have an issue, but this is not the case.

The data is anonymous people, get over it!  How does Apple knowing that someone stood at (or near) a bus stop affect your personal privacy?  That's correct, it doesn't.

Apple have promised to fix this issue in a soon-to-be-released update; at what expense?
The currently collected data reaches back until time began, well at least for the iPhone.  Apple say that they will only collect the previous seven days worth of data after the next update.  While that is fair enough and should do a great deal to satiate those jumping up and down for a while, I personally believe that this could possibly do more harm than good.

That data, as I said earlier in this post, provides Apple the patterns of usage they require to continue to develop cutting edge products and software.  By collecting less information, the development of future products and services could well be hampered and I for one would prefer for Apple to continue collecting anonymous location information at the rate they currently are and have better products and services available to me because of it.

I invite readers to cast their own opinions on this matter in the comments, perhaps I have missed something important when developing my own views on this matter?

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