It’s Just a Bug!

The old IT joke is “It’s not a bug, it’s a FEATURE!”

Well, Apple’s latest “bug” is definitely a “feature” for them, and a huge breach of trust for those of us using Apple’s  iPhone and iPad.  It turns out the “bug” is recording the locations that your device has been logging into (both wi-fi and cell towers) since last June, when the last OS update rolled out.  For some users who travel extensively, this information shows an awful lot of information. For those that don’t travel, it would clearly show a person’s home location, places they hung out and when they hung out there.  If a user is picking up children at a school Monday through Friday, for instance, that information would be available too.

This is scary stuff, all on its own.  But what is truly scary is that Apple seems to think this is no big deal and it’s “just a bug” and we’ll be fixing it “shortly.”  Shortly?  How about right now?  How about telling users how to delete the information immediately, while you work on your “fix?”  While they provided information on encrypting the data by applying a password, this doesn’t change the fact that the information is being collected.  Apple can profess all it wants that it is not collecting this information in any way, and that it is not being sent to Apple (or ATT, or Verizon) but I think most of us don’t believe that.

Worse yet, Apple thinks we are not very bright as users, either.  Near the top of the Q&A piece, they say: “Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology  (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.”  Really?  Is it because users are too dumb to understand the purpose of the tracking?  I think not, and Apple is hiding behind their usual “we know best” attitude when it comes to their user base.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised.  And doubly glad I don’t own an iPhone.  I’ll stick with my semi-smart phone with the GPS turned off, thanks.