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What Data Is Apple Collecting About Its iPhone Users?

At the ZDNet Apple Core blog, Jason O'Grady reported the following:

"Uneasy Silence is reporting that Apple is collecting data on iPhone customers as they use their popular weather and stock applications on the device. According to the report Apple is sending data about the information requested to a special tracking server..."

Jason's post describes details about the data collection. The question is: is Apple tracking general application data (e.g., which applications you use on your iPhone), or is Apple tracking personally identifiable information (e.g., the specific data you submit or retrieve)? One of the readers summed up the situation well in this comment:

"It's really a dual-edged sword, isn't it??? I mean, like most everyone else, I don't really like the idea that Microsoft, or Apple, or my cable company, or my credit card company, or whoever else is collecting and compiling data about every single thing I do in my life they can possibly track... It IS, invasive, intrusive, and quite possibly abusive, or prone to abuse -- particularly if people with criminal intent get hold of the WRONG data..."

Yes. Nobody wants irrelevant ads or content forced upon them: online or on television. So, many of us provide some personally identifiable information at Web sites so we see (in theory) only that content and ads which is relevant to our needs and interests.

Criminal intent is key. One example is a corporate data breach. This is why I started writing the I've Been Mugged blog about identity theft, data breaches, and corporate responsibility. There is an explicit agreement between the consumer and the company that when the user shares, submits, or retrieves personally identifiable data, that the company will protect this sensitive data with effective and current data security measures.

Companies shouldn't get a free pass on this responsibility. And when a company violates this agreement, they need to be held accountable to suffer the consequences.


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