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  • Silver 18:08 on May 9, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: mondaytask1   

    By April 2011, users of Apple products, had noticed that the Apple Locational System has kept a record of where the user has been, sometimes dating back to more than three months. This issue, of course, raised many questions of whether, and why Apple needs to keep a record of a user’s location. As of now, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has claimed, that the situation is caused due to a bug in the system, and that it will be fixed in the next software update. Although the explanation seems to justify itself, can one still consider the fact that their location information is being stored a concern?

    On one hand, relying on Jobs’ answers, it can be seen, that Apple might have no interest in storing user information. In fact Jobs claims that the user locator is only used for a user’s own convenience, as it is to make it simple for a user to spot public Wi-Fi hotspots, overall making it less time consuming for a user to use their device to its fullest potential. Secondly, Steve Jobs, when asked a question about why their iPhone, at all needs to log in to store information. He applies, adding to the previous, that if a user wished to find Wi-Fi hotspots, markets, clubs etc. by logging in on the spot, it would be difficult for the device to rapidly find all of the required information, thus making the device slower than Apple designed it to be. Furthermore, Apple claims that, although they are experiencing some technical issues at this moment, they are still leading the way to a safer user experience when it comes to monitoring and storing user information supported by the fact that they at this time provide the user with a choice whether to allow an application to store locational information or not, making it voluntary rather than mandatory for a person to share his/her personal information.

    Although the previous suggest that Apple has no intention in storing user whereabouts, one might still have to worry about the fact that one’s location is stored somewhere. This might for one thing be because it would make hackers be wary of potential product movement and might set the user at risk of robbery (if one is interested in Apple products). Secondly, because of long term user data storage, one, when visiting places embarrassing to the user, might feel uncomfortable in certain situations, if they were to turn out in public. Overall, this all, could, should raise awareness and possible concern within the public.

    Although Apple has failed to fully justify their actions, whether and why user locations were stored, it can be expected of Apple to repair these so called “system bugs”. Thus hopefully, after a long time, letting people once again breathe more freely about the various hazards that a system malfunction in the main server could cause.

    • Paavo Viilup 10:13 on May 12, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Solid piece of writing.

      But. “Apple Locational System ” only appears in your post, thus it does not exist by that name, especially in a capitalised form.

      Also, no commas before “that”, usually, only in the case of cleft sentences.

      Thirdly, applies = replies?

  • alex 09:46 on May 9, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: mondaytask1   

    Is Apple tracking your whereabouts? 

    Some claims have been made that Apple is collecting the location data from iPhones and thus is monitoring each users whereabouts. This concern has made many people anxious about Apple’s doings and issued many questions and problems about it.

    It is true that Apple is receiving location data from the iPhone but not like people suspect they are and not for the speculated reasons. People believe that Apple is receiving this data and monitoring them constantly because the iPhone is gathering this info and sending it to Apple. The truth in fact is that Apple has a special cache folder that collects this data and then sends it through iTunes to Apple. It is not tracking the users whereabouts but in fact it is marking down Wifi hotspots and cell towers that are near the user so that the iPhone connects to these places with little effort and time. These files are also mostly encrypted and the guys at Apple have no access to them because they are anonymous. This ensures the security and privacy of a user. Apple has also announced that this cache folder is has a bug that it collects too much data and they want to limit this and also make it delete old data. They said that in the next software update this glitch shall be fixed.

    Another reason why people are thinking in such a manner and worrying is that they are clueless of the actual facts. This is also Apples fault for not providing the necessary information about what data is being received. Apple has also announced that they intend to include information about this topic so that people would be aware of the fact that Apple is not misusing their data or invading their privacy in any way. Apple feels very strongly about privacy and security that is why all apps have the pop-up which asks do you want to activate location services. At the moment Apple is the only one to have enforced this sort of policy for applications. This makes Apple one of the leading companies in security on the market.

    So all in all people should not worry about Apple’s location data handling. It is good that people are asking questions and want to educate themselves because then Apple can also find out what needs improving. It is natural that people are worried about their personal life and outings but this is one topic that should not be worried about.

  • Brent 19:43 on May 5, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: mondaytask1   

    Apple tracking 

    I am quite sure, that everybody loves technology, its different possibilities and the ways it makes our lives so much simpler. We don’t need to use maps to find places of interest in new towns, or to locate ourselves if we are lost, we can access the web at any location and so on. Nowadays we do not just expect things to work properly, but work fast as well.
    It already seems impossible that one has to wait after information, of any kind, for longer than a few seconds and the fact that, at least in larger modern cities, we cannot access the Internet at all. Another thing we love is our privacy. Because we live in a democratic society, which protects our privacy by law, we expect everyone to respect that.

    The problem is, that sometimes these two “must haves” might go against each other. The latest such clash was when people found out about files in devices like iPhones and iPads, which consisted of logs about different positions where the device had been. According to apple, in a response to this subject, the files were actually about not the location of the device it self, but about the wi-fi hotspots it was near to. Furthermore the range of the hotspots, from the device, could be up to 100 miles, so not a very accurate “tracking system”. The way idevices sent the information to Apple was also anonymous. The problem here is, that people did not fully understand, what the log files meant and that the system could not be turned off. Apple has promised to fix a number of bugs and reasons of concern, of the system, with its next update.

    The system itself seems to be something, which is not there to keep track of people, but to help make the device faster when it comes to connecting to the Internet and finding location. So nothing to be actually worried about. But the incident itself again shows, how people jump to hasty conclusion. They right away saw it as an attack against their privacy without considering, maybe the device actually needs to know where I am, when I want to know, where I am.

  • Sander 09:47 on May 5, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: mondaytask1   


    Living in an era, where the understanding of privacy is very varied and has no clear definition, scandals like the one involving Apple, are bound to spark a lot of discussion. With the Internet blurring the line between private and non-private, people have become very sensitive about being tracked and observed. Sometimes rightfully so, and sometimes not. This, of course, applies to the happenings with Apple supposedly “tracking” iPhone users’ location. However, this might have been blown severely out of context.

    The information that is recorded is woefully vague, and surely not enough to support the large scandal that has arisen from the issue. Going by the Q&A that Apple published, the corporation doesn’t actually use the information gathered by the phones to track anything, but rather, to make the user experience smoother and quicker. The caches kept are used to find the location of the phone much quicker when the user actually wants the phone to do so. Furthermore, the phone’s location can be calculated in a 100 mile radius. This poses an almost non-existent danger to the user. In fact, it would be much easier to just triangulate the position of the phone using its surrounding radio towers. Service providers have had the ability to do that for years, as well as some sort of phone call tracing. Apple recording vague data about the phone’s position, to make the user experience smoother is a rather insignificant problem in comparison.
    That is, of course, assuming that Apple is giving us the whole story. The characteristics of the system described  in the Apple Q&A are indeed a very minor worry, and couldn’t really have any impact on anything. However, if the iPhone’s ability to track the user’s position were more precise, then it would indeed be a problem. In addition, the fact that the phone kept tracing even when location services were turned off was named a “bug”, is somewhat ominous. As well as the fact that iTunes cached the location and stored them on a computer, where, in theory,  they are readily accessible by Apple. To the suspicious eye, these coincidences seem somewhat ominous. It would seem probable, that there is more to the issue than was made public.
    Yet, no final verdict can be given by anyone at this point. With the, admittedly lacking, information given, the problem indeed seems to be blown out of proportion. The tracing the iPhone does is relatively tame, when compared to the tracing that telecom service providers have been able to do for years. But, as with any such scandal, it is very probable that the public has not received the full scoop on the issue. As such, the problem could be several magnitudes larger than what has been described.

    • Joel L 10:04 on May 5, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      “As well as the fact that iTunes cached the location and stored them on a computer, where, in theory, they are readily accessible by Apple.”

      So basically they could read anything on your computer, so nothing matters anyway.
      And so does Microsoft, and LINUX CORPORATION (I believe that’s the official name)

    • Paavo Viilup 06:35 on May 9, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s all a bit ominous, then? Ominous situation is ominous. Otherwise, solid, if not inspiring, writing.

  • Taavi 18:10 on May 4, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: mondaytask1   

    Twitter speedness 

    The “death” of Osama bin Laden has created a lot of fuzz al around the world but the manner in which the world got to know about it might be even more interesting topic. All of us should think that the official announcement made by the White House on Osama’s death took the centre stage but it is actually twitter and other social media sites that made the announcement come so unprepared and early.
    It is obvious that the White House wanted to delay the release of the info about Osama’s death until the first consequences of it had been passed and a proper speech for Obama had been made but due to the spread of the info on other media channels they had to make a rush announcement. It is obvious to all of us that when rumours spread the one whom it is about needs to make a statement on whether it is true or not and if the one is too late the opinion of the population cannot be changed.
    In the case of Obama’s announcement on Osama’s death the rumours spread in a tremendous speed leaving no other choice for Obama to confirm the fact that had already been confirmed by various trusted sources. If it had not been twitter and other media sites but from person to person the info would not have spread too far making it possible for Obama to delay the announcement for a day. But as twitter and Facebook was used the info spread in an instant to millions of people who themselves re-tweeted it making the info reaching too large of a population for the White House to delay their response.
    This instance however is nothing out of the ordinary nowadays as all the social media available online makes the spread of info almost inevitable. Leaving the governments and other officiating bodies with no choice but to make rush decisions and announcements. Certainly there is nothing bad about the info of the death of probably the most hated guy in the world spreading faster than supposed but it could start to become an issue for the governments as can already be seen by the scandals surrounding WikiLeaks.
    So in general rumours do speed up the responses but in this case it did not make too much of a difference as everyone was expecting the “damn bastard” to be caught sooner or later.

  • Erik-Silver Toomere 19:52 on May 2, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: , mondaytask1   

    Do you think worrying over Apple’s collection of location data is a valid concern? 

    I would not say that I am paranoid, but at times it does show. For example, when I first learned of Apple, or rather my iPhone, collecting location data my immediate thought was: “Oh ship, I’m so screwed!”. Why the panic? Because to continue using my excellent cell carrier (TELE2 if you were wondering) I had to ‘jailbreak’ my iPhone, now Apple does not approve of this due to what I can only imagine is the money they receive from EMT that holds dominance over the Estonian iPhone market like AT&T used to hold over USA. And of course let us not forget that this ‘jailbreaking’ allows the user to pirate apps for the device (another percentage lost for Apple AND the developers of the apps).
    I then realized I use Foursquare. I feel secure about blabbering my current location to millions of Twitter users and whomever happens onto my Twitter just by Googleing my name. I trust millions of random people more than I trust a big corporation, time to reprioritize.
    Now if I think about the location data and from what I have read, that it “collects the data from nearest WiFi hotspots” and “cell towers (that are often hundreds of miles away)” and of course the fact that “all user data is encrypted” should even calm the craziest of conspiracy nut, and if not then black helicopters.
    But one question still remains in the air, WHY is Apple collecting the data? One theory, by Peter Pachal of the PCmag fame, is that Apple is working on a navigation service which most likely will keep you from gridlocks due to the collected user data which will portray as traffic congestion. However the problem with that is the ‘Maps’ app hard-boiled onto your iPhone. This nifty Google Maps app already shows the traffic congestion in your local area (Estonians: don’t bother looking it up, too little data for it to work) and we further learn that Google has already released a GPS for their Android OS but not for the iOS, further proof that Apple has the spot reserved.
    In conclusion, if you want to get somewhere using GPS don’t be surprised that your location data is collected.


    • Joel L 20:42 on May 2, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Random comment — 

      you should also differentiate between “Apple collecting data” and “your phone collecting data”.

      It’s not the same thing — I wouldn’t consider writing in my notebook to be “Moleskine® Corporation collecting my data”

      • Erik-Silver Toomere 20:48 on May 2, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Ah good point, BUT the problem was that people thought their phones forwarded the data to Apple (which it technically did)

        • Paavo Viilup 18:58 on May 3, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Maybe implementing this idea into your essay isn’t such a bad idea. Also, the style of the piece should be semi-formal, overtly colloquial idioms (e.g. “to hit oneself in the face”) should be avoided.

    • Paavo Viilup 06:27 on May 9, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s not very good due to being all over the place.

  • Paavo Viilup 06:04 on May 2, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: , mondaytask1   

    May 02 (@home with daughter) 

    As promised, Mondays will be dedicated to writing small essay-ish texts. The length of these should be approximately 300-400 words and the topics will obviously vary. Today, we’ll focus on the social aspect of the ITGS triangle. You have three topics to choose from:

    1) Did tweeting force the White House to make an announcement on Osama bin Laden’s death earlier than planned and what does this imply? (see http://techme.me/BV0P, hover your mouse over the discussion section to see a + sign which will show a list of articles discussing the topic) ((when referencing, reference)
    2) Do you think worrying over Apple’s collection of location data is a valid concern? (http://techme.me/BTVE)
    3) topic of choice (i.e. make your own and post it as a comment)

    EDIT: please use the tag mondaytask1 when posting.

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