Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Between an Apple and a Hard Place

So the news is all over the web about Apple changing their privacy policy. For example, Consumerist says “Apple Knows Where Your Phone Is And Is Telling People:”

Apple updated its privacy policy today, with an important, and dare we say creepy new paragraph about location information. If you agree to the changes, (which you must do in order to download anything via the iTunes store) you agree to let Apple collect store and share “precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.”

Apple says that the data is “collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you,” but for some reason we don’t find this very comforting at all. There appears to be no way to opt-out of this data collection without giving up the ability to download apps.

Now, speaking as someone who was about to buy a new iphone (once the servers stopped crashing), what worries me is that the new terms are going to be in the new license for new versions of iTunes and iPhones.

Today, it’s pretty easy to not click ok. But next week or next month, when Apple ships a security update, they’re going to require customers to make a choice: privacy or security. Apple doesn’t ship patches for the previous rev of anything but their OS. iTunes problem? Click ok to give up your privacy, or don’t, and give up your security.

Not a happy choice, being stuck between an Apple and a hard place.

5 comments on "Between an Apple and a Hard Place"

  • Isaiah Clarke says:

    Simple solution, don’t buy Apple products.

    • Adam says:


      That doesn’t help if you already have. Their extant customers (including me) should not have to make this choice.

  • jcg says:

    Sounds like it’s there to support ads (so you get ads for NY instead of LA). You already gave this up when you decided you wanted a phone with gps in it. If you don’t like it, get a phone without gps.

    • Adam says:

      Getting a phone without GPS doesn’t help. Phones use triangulation from cell towers to locate.

  • Matt says:

    The terms were already in the EULA’s. And had been for some period of time. They just copied them to the privacy policy for more exposure.

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