Why the iPhone ‘LocationGate’ Scandal Is a Non-Issue

Why the iPhone ‘LocationGate’ Scandal Is a Non-Issue

Everybody freaked out this week about the discovery that iPhones store location history in an unencrypted file. Congressional grandstanders Al Franken and Ed Markey demanded that Steve Jobs explain himself. Matt Drudge used his Caps Lock key to write a screaming headline about it. Gimme a break.

The whole “LocationGate” scandal is a non-issue, as far as I’m concerned. It’s just a lot of noise about a potential privacy breach that buries the real privacy violations happening every day.

Go here to read the whole story.

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  • Joseph

    Well said. You’d think with Republicans trying to turn the U.S. into a feudal state Franken would have better topics for open letters.

  • mahimahimahi

    It really is a nonissue. The same goes for the samsung case.

  • nolavabo

    Politicians will do anything to distract the public from government violations of their privacy.

  • ctt1wbw

    If you want to know if something is trivial or not, pay attention to what Franken gets involved in. If his nose is in it, it’s trivial.

  • Janice

    Thanks for having the common sense and intestinal fortitude to speak the truth about the issue. As usual, the media whoring for clicks and ratings and the politicians posturing for name recognition are out in force wailing accusations without weighing the facts.

  • OEB

    Wow… The iphone stores my location data on my own device… Just like it stores my addresses, bank information, passwords, nudy pics, and whole bunch of other crap I wouldn’t want anyone to see… But the key phrase here is that it “stores it on my device”. It isn’t like the iphone is taking this data and posting it on the web. Seriously, if you are that worried about this then turn location services off. If you are still worried then throw your iphone away, climb under your little rock, and don’t ever, ever leave the woods again. Franken is a flipping idiot. Who the hell is electing these people!?!

  • Bob

    I think you all missed the problem folks. Sure it would be worse if the information was transmitted off our devices but regardless, the mere fact that it is storing MY information WITHOUT MY knowledge (until now) or consent is a huge issue in a country where our individual rights and privacy are protected. If you, as “Sonoftroy” states, choose to store your passwords and nude pics, you knew you were doing it. Who the heck is Jobs to make my decisions for me? It’s totally crude and you all really need to think about the precedent you are setting by casually waiving your rights even without your knowledge. If we as Americans aren’t careful, we’ll be headed back to a state of rule our founding forefathers worked so hard to break free from.

  • Howie Isaacks

    Franken needs to worry about planning for his next stolen election, instead of grandstanding about this total non-issue. While we have a budget crisis going on, these morons are worried about something that has been known for a long time.

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    Yeah, sure, everybody freaked. The only people that freaked were iHaters, knuckleheads and tin-foil hat wearers. Mostly any normal person’s daily activities can be easily tracked. How many damn iPhone users are actually involved in covert activities? Does really anyone care how most people spend their boring days? Yeah, maybe those that are having some torrid affair or have secretly become serial killers. Every damn thing about Apple is turned into some sort of anti-Apple hate campaign. If somebody paid me to wear a tracking device, I’d do it. My life is so damn ordinary what difference does it make. So now that everyone knows the iPhone is tracking them, they can download an app that removes the file. Satisfied. Now the world can rest easy knowing that their dull and boring lives are private again.

  • Maxwell

    Mike Elgan your a moron, I care about my privacy maybe you don’t but I do.

    It’s not just the iPhone that tracks you it’s all mobile devices, more big brother. Congress is the one that passed the law in 1996 idiots.

    Telecommunications Act of 1996

  • GQB

    Right… Keeping Comcast from having a stranglehold on the Internet is ‘trivial’.
    Try looking past the hate sometime.

  • GQB

    ” Who the hell is electing these people!?!”

    People who wanted to get rid of a right wing nut named ‘Coleman’.

  • GQB

    ‘Stolen election’ such as the recent Wisconsin supreme couture race, or bush/gore. Then I agree.

  • CharliK

    No he is NOT a moron. The point he is making is that the information on the iphone that is part of Locationgate is local info that no one will see unless they have your iphone (and you don’t put a passcode lock with auto wipe on it) or your computer. In either case what else they have access to is more invading.

    AND the whole legally mandated GPS stuff that you are referring to is more invading. However it is not mentioned in the whole “Oh My Gawd, Apple is recording info about where I go that no one can actually see, that is so awful”

  • thewinchesterau

    I don’t know what’s worse about this post – the fact it’s a deliberate short posting to pump up the SEO for an article on Computerworld (like that site needs it), or the fact that Elgan is an obvious Apple fanboy who’s compleatly clueless/oblivious to the significant breach of privacy posed by this previously unknown data store.

    Here’s one thing Elgan glances over – pretty much ever other application uses location data only with the users permission, regardless of platform. Further, most of these applications go out of their way to make it very clear what is being done with the data upfront.

    Key point: Apple has placed code in their system, which records and stores this data without the user’s prior knowledge or permission.

    Yet you’re still wondering why people are concered by this? I suggest you crawl back into your hole until you get a basic, working understanding of privacy and the reasonable exectations thereof.

  • thewinchesterau

    I think you should be grateful that two Senators have stood up to discuss issues of privacy. I’d content that the more it’s talked about, the greater awareness the public at large will have around privacy issues.

    Ergo, as they become more aware of it, they will hold their Governments and elected representatives to better account over privacy violations committed by these groups.

    Knowledge is, as the old saying goes, power.

  • Maxwell

    Whatever!! Join the sheep!

  • Alex

    Somehow I suspect that Mr. Elgan would be outraged if we where talking about Microsoft instead of Apple ( along with all the other Kool Aid drinkers ) .

    But after reading his various posts on CoM it seem his main purpose is to get page views for his mediocre articles on other sites.

  • CharliK

    What’s worse, being a sheep who defends Apple every time. Or a sheep that joins in with the Evil Apple Hater Club.

  • poppa1138

    who cares if they know where you have been,the time to worry is when they know where you are going,now that would be freaky!.

  • CHRIS

    HAS ANYONE HERD OF, THE PERIAT ACT?

    IF NOT, COPY PASTE CLICK THIS LINK & READ FOR YOURSELF http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U

    AMERICAN CITIZENS DONT HAVE CIVIL LIBERTIES ANYMORE

    THE CONSTITUTION OF WHAT ARE FOREFATHERS WORTE, HAS BE REWRITTEN.

    (EVER HEAR OF AMENDMENTS?)

    ARGUE ALL YOU WANT, BUT WE ARE WORKING ON A ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.

    THE ONLY RIGHT WE STILL HAVE AS “WE THE PEOPLE” IS,

    F*CK YOU, JUST PAY!!

  • Maxwell

    Yes I hate Apple so much, I only own a iPad 2, Apple TV 2, iMac 27″ and I upgrade all on a yearly basis I am an Apple hater you know nothing of me.

  • chris

    At least the author of this site is honest. Cult of Mac.

    I have to go elsewhere to find intelligent journalism on the Mac.

  • CharliK

    “You know nothing of me”

    The same could be said TO you

    And it is wrong. I do know something ‘of you’. Your writing skills suck and you are a jerk.

  • MacGoo

    I read as far as “HAS ANYONE HERD OF” and then stopped reading. If you want to be taken seriously, please turn off caps lock and pay attention to spelling.

  • MacGoo

    You two done? My finger is annoyed that it had to exert itself scrolling past your bickering.

  • Maxwell

    Yes be quite slave, how dare I speak my mind!

  • Maxwell

    I am sorry I don’t live on this blog, I love your come back is that the best you got?

  • MacGoo
  • OEB

    This is like a dumpster fire. You know its just a dumpster fire but you just can’t look away.

About the author

Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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