Apple and Google Use Phone Data to Map the World

You may not know it, but if you carry a smartphone in your pocket, you are probably doing unpaid work for Apple or Google — and helping them eventually aim more advertising directly at you.As those two companies battle for dominance in mobile computing, they have increasingly been using their customers’ phones as sensors to collect data about nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi hot spots.To read this report in The New York Times in full, see:
www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/technology/26locate.htmlAlso see:House Presses Apple, Google, Others on Location-Tracking Practices
A House committee that oversees privacy issues sent letters to six developers of mobile operating systems on Monday — including Apple Inc. and Google Inc. — seeking more information about whether they are tracking users’ locations, as the scrutiny expands to the broader industry.In the version of the letter sent to Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked him to respond to questions such as: “What location data do devices running your operating system track, use, store, or share?” and “Why does the device track, use, store, or share that data?” It asked him to respond no later than May 9.
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703856704576285402575655210.htmlIllinois attorney general joins chorus of officials asking Apple about iPhone location tracking
A growing group of state, federal and foreign government officials is asking Apple Inc. to explain why its iPhone and iPad mobile devices track users’ whereabouts.Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan on Monday requested meetings with both Apple and Google Inc, which also records users’ location data through its Android smartphones. Last week, two researchers drew attention to a data file embedded on Apple devices that apparently keeps tabs on years’ worth of user location data.
latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/04/illinois-attorney-general-joins-chorus-of-officials-asking-apple-about-iphone-location-tracking.html

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