iPhone-gate aka much ado about nothing
So the press and the panic-loving public is all a-tizzy over the latest news that Apple’s iPhone (and iPad) is tracking user’s location, despite the fact if any user had cared to even glance at the first page of Apple’s iPhone software license (4.9 MB PDF) it says on the first page, fourth item, the iPhone uses location services, in which it outlines what people are now up in arms about, only proving nobody reads legal documents they click “okay” to, regardless of the fact the reality is the onus is still on them, not the manufacturer. Or if they had thought for a second how location services work on ANY device, any smart phone or phones in general that have to generate data that locates you on a grid, GPS, cellular triangulation, WiFi location maybe they’d have had a clue why this really isn’t a big deal or at least how much they’re the ignorant ones, but that won’t stop people trying to make one of it. Despite the fact Android tracks you just as much as the iPhone, as does other smart phones, it’s clear that because the iPhone arguably the leader, makes it the easy punching bag here, everybody loves to build a person or company up just to tear them down. The reality is Google’s searches have been tracking you long before smart phones, or do people gloss over how you’ll find a slew of ads popping up on various sites mysteriously similar to things you’ve searched for, even for things mysteriously near locations your computer may be at?
But I digress, I’m here to divulge something to show how silly this is by publishing my information by running the iPhone Tracker software that will check the data iPhone is keeping. The scandalous results of my mysterious travels? Well, for one it shows I can actual teleport to areas apparently, areas where I’ve not been or my iPhone is cheating on me by going out to places I’ve not gone, turning itself off between stops. It shows how the data isn’t accurate, beyond the fact people are missing the fact it’s not really logging your exact location per se, simply a general area, it’s wrong. I’ve not been to near the Connecticut border, Mount Vernon, nor have I been up near Teaneck or Paterson or some area near Milburn or the uppermost corner of New Jersey. Yes I travel the I80 corridor and yes I travel by train to Princeton on occasion, and yes I live in Manhattan and travel throughout NYC as evidenced on the map, but many of the other clusters prove this data is incredibly inaccurate. Also zoomed in it doesn’t show what building I’ve been in, or what block I’m on, or what restaurant, even which highway or what train would be open to pure speculation or guesses, zoomed in you get very scattered dots far apart, not pinpointed data. Additionally there’s no time stamps, it’s narrowed down to by the week, that’s it.
Conclusion: Seriously? This is posing as news? Were people and the big news machines asleep last summer when Apple already answered to their location services in August to Congress about data collection? If there was a person who wanted to accuse me of some crime or being at some location by my iPhone data it would inevitably be tossed out of a court of law as non-credible evidence by an expert witness. Can we move along to actual news? Perhaps how engineers may emulate the skin of cephalopods using metamaterials, for military camouflage and other uses?
Update: All Things Digital (ATD) had a lengthy informative Q & A with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, SVPs Phil Shiller and Scott Forstall which, again, prove much ado about nothing in terms of the data and how it’s used. Also interesting in how it can assess data points far far away which explains somewhat why my data shows I’m places I’m not.