China says that the iPhone is a national security threat

Apple-China

The iPhone brings untold billions of dollars of industry into China thanks to the manufacturing jobs it creates, but that hasn’t stopped the Chinese Government — through their state-controlled media mouthpieces — from calling the device a “national security concern.”

Why? Because iOS can track your location, which according to a China Central Television report, could be used to betray Chinese state secrets to the rest of the world.

What has the CCTV worked up is iOS’s “Frequent Locations” feature, which tracks the geographic coordinates of where a user travels most. According to Chinese researchers speaking to the CCTV, this tracking could be a danger to the Chinese government, by leaking sensitive information and state secrets to Apple.

It’s absurd. As Apple explains in a support article about Frequent Locations, the data gathered by the feature “is kept solely on your device and won’t be sent to Apple without your consent. It will be used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.”

But what makes China’s issues with Frequent Locations even sillier is that, as we’ve shown in the past, turning off Frequent Locations is as easy as making a single tap in iOS settings.

In other words, all this fuss is about a harmless feature anyone can turn off for themselves. You’d think even China’s spies could figure that out.

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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