I may just be a little dense, of course, but this one continues to elude me — what use could Apple, or I for that matter, possibly have for a monstrous database containing all the locations my iPhone and I have been to? And why is this database stored on my phone and on my computer without encryption?

Some of the places I’ve been to – meticulously recorded by my iPhone.

Yes, I do understand the value of location-based services and that – at times – it can be mighty convenient to have some app tell you about the nearest restaurant serving Uzbek cuisine.

But does the damn phone really need to keep a backup of all the places it’s been to? Ever? I am very much looking forward to some kind of official statement from Apple on this topic, because not an iota of what is going on here is covered in the EULA (?) I accepted before I began to use my iPhone.


Here is the respective quote from Apple’s iPhone EULA, paragraph four, section B ‘Location Data’:

“… You may withdraw this consent at any time by not using the location-based features or by turning off the Location Services setting on your phone …”

Sounds great, doesn’t it? The problem, however, is that the collection of the data above can not be turned off, no matter how hard you try. And while this course of action may be perfectly legal in the United States, it sure is questionable from an ethical perspective.

But there’s a small glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel – judging from the media attention this issue has gotten, it doesn’t look like Apple will be able to ignore it or sit it out silently.

Obligatory hat tip to Senator Franken for his quick reaction, and of course to the trusty ole’ workhorse that is Ars Technica.