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Apple speaks out about iPhone privacy issues

April 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Apple spoke out about iPhone users' privacy concerns after reports that the iPhones keep records of the users' locations.

Talk to an iPhone or iPad owner, and odds are, you'll find a special bond between human and gadget. But like most relationships, there can be unsettling revelations.

Last week, experts found that every iPhone and iPad has been keeping track of everywhere you've brought it for nearly a year. All the information was reportedly stored in a hidden file on the Apple gadget and easily accessible to someone who knew where to look.

While some iPhone users found the news creepy, professor Jack Lerner at USC Law, who specializes in technology privacy issues, said it's worse that creepy.

"We're dealing with security issues here," Lerner said. "Someone could use it to follow you, someone could use it to determine when you're home and when you're not home.

Lerner says Apple is already facing a class-action lawsuit dealing with privacy issues.

The Cupertino-based company released a written statement on Wednesday saying it uses some of the recorded data to speed up an iPhone or iPad's location-based programs, and that it was a mistake to store the longer term locator data.

"Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly," the statement read.

"Be that as it may, the fact that this was just an unencrypted file that's sitting with indefinite amounts of information about exactly where you've been is very very disturbing," Lerner said.

Still, many iPhone users said they don't know how to read Apple's intentions.

"It's disturbing in theory, but I guess it really doesn't affect me. I don't really have anything to hide," said iPhone user Emily Chen.

The Apple controversy comes right before the release of its latest gadget - the much-anticipated, long-delayed white iPhone 4. It goes on sale on Thursday.