The Fine Print: Apple Can Tell Third Parties Where You Are, and That’s Fine
Remember that time yesterday when we were telling you all about downloading iOS4 and all the new features it comes with? Well here’s a little thing we forgot to mention, because, well, nobody knew at the time: The new license agreement you “signed” when you downloaded the new OS permits Apple to get your geolocation data and share it with companies.
Oh man, BWOOOP, BWOOOP, security alert. Everybody panic! All the evil corporations know exactly where you are and are going to make you disappear if you upset them. Well, no, they don’t know who you are, but they know someone is there! That’s gotta be bad, right? Not really.
For reference, here is the relevant section of that new contract you’re held to:
To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.
Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.
Tons of applications already used your location, and you were fine with it, but they still had to ask you first. Now there’s just one fewer button to tap in the process. And MobileMe is apparently useful!
So it turns out Apple isn’t spying on us as part of some government conspiracy to know the location of each citizen, it’s just providing us with great new streamlined services, customized to fit where we are in the world.
So calm down. If you’re the kind of person who would even be bothered by this, chances are you never used apps that asked for your location before, and you’ll continue to not use them now.
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