Thursday, 28 April 2011

We know where you've been!

There has been a media storm in a teacup lately over Apple's iPhone (I suppose it makes a change from that wedding). It probably reflects the fact that none of the news media's technology correspondents are old enough to remember back to 1984 that they didn't point out the irony of Apple's famous '1984' advertising campaign. Because now, it seems, friendly ole Apple is really Big Brother.

The brouhaha (love that word) arose because it was discovered that iPhones appeared to keep a list of places you had been. Oh no. Your privacy is breached. The world has ended. Everyone who is jealous of us iPhone users can now laugh at us for being smug. However, it seems that this was a mistake - this is just a file the phone uses to keep track of locations of the WiFi and phone masts it uses to help locate its position in all those useful position based apps before the GPS can kick in.

To be honest, I think we make too much of privacy (as witness all the fuss about superinjunctions at the moment). I really wouldn't have cared if my iPhone really did store a track of where I've been. It wouldn't discover anything very exciting. More to the point, even if I had popped into somewhere dubious, the accuracy of location on WiFi and phone masts is only to tens of metres. I could easily have just driven past.

So here's what it comes to. This is the headline. Apple is not Big Brother. Why did they need to make such a fuss? All the had to do was watch the ad:

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