Apple Responds to Chinese State-Run Media Warning Against iOS Location Tracking

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jul 12, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Earlier this week, China's state-run media broadcast labeled the iPhone a "national security concern" over Apple's Location Services feature found in iOS 7, with the country's researchers stating that the data could lead to accessing highly-sensitive data in China.

    Today, Apple officially responded to the controversy on its Chinese website. The statement, which was posted in both Chinese and English, starts off by reiterating the company's commitment to privacy and stating that its Location Services exist solely to help users for activities that require navigation:
    Apple also states that it does not have access to the Frequent Locations data on any iPhone, noting that access to the information can be turned off and is only used to provide commuting information and automatic routing as requested by the user:
    Apple concludes the statement by saying that it has "never worked with any government agency from any country" to create backdoor access in any of its products, and vows to never allow access to its servers. Last year, the company shared a sentiment in its "Commitment to Customer Privacy" letter which was issued after the discovery of the NSA's secret intelligence program, PRISM.

    China has become an increasingly important market for Apple, as the company has made moves over the past few years to improve its presence in the country. Last year, the company partnered with the region's biggest carrier China Mobile and opened more retail stores throughout populated areas. CEO Tim Cook has also made a number of visits to China, meeting with Beijing's mayor and the Chinese Vice Premier to discuss market growth.

    Note: Due to the controversial nature of this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Apple Responds to Chinese State-Run Media Warning Against iOS Location Tracking
  2. macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2009
    There are definately valid security concerns in our world right now. This however is not one of them. Anything with a setting allowing you to turn it off, and which the system specifically asks you whether you want to use when you first set it up is not a concern.
  3. macrumors 604


    Mar 26, 2008
    and next thing you know North Korea is complaining about the lack of "freedom of choice" in apple products :p
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2010
    Very good answer by Apple, and shows yet again Apple's superiority over
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 3, 2012
    sorry but google through android is tracking everything you do including location, to sell you crap!

    Apple has always done the opposite and even has a business model to back that stance up.

    I suspect the media have gotten confused as to where there arse and elbow are located at?
  6. macrumors G4

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Since when did China care about its citizens' privacy?
  7. macrumors 65816


    Aug 23, 2008
    Somewhere in Florida
    They would prefer citizens use phones they themselves can track
  8. macrumors 601


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Probably what the Chinese are unhappy about is that they've found no way to use their citizen's iPhones to track them as they travel around China.

    As a side note, this is what happens when the NSA goes around collecting information unchecked. They really make other countries nervous about buying American goods and services. Or they at least give these other countries a fairly valid point of concern to sway their population to buy locally. I see this being a significant problem over the coming decade. A "Silicon Valley" could blossom just as easily in another part of the world. We're not as special as we think we are—especially considering how far behind we are in education.
  9. PocketSand11, Jul 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014

    macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2014
    What does Microsoft track? Apple's in a way better position to track people (if they wish). I guess MS could get people who use Bing and Windows Phone, but those are only their own employees, who they probably already have information on.


    Apple has an advertising platform too. I suspect Google more because of Google+ and their other annoying stuff, but they're more annoying than scary. Who cares if somebody knows what stuff I like? Even if I didn't use AdBlock, I'd at least get more relevant ads.
  10. macrumors 68020

    Jun 20, 2010
    China does not want excess freedom to undermine it as has been happening here.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2009
    Same can't be said for google, their business model relies on it. :rolleyes:
  12. macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2009
    What ever Apple may think of Chinese government policy, if Apple wants to sell iPhones in China they must do so in accordance with Chinese law.

    If Apple find disagree with Chinese law they are free to pull out of China. At one stage Google pulled out of China for this type of reason.

    You could replace China with any other nation and replace Apple with in corporation and this would still be true.
  13. iZac, Jul 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014

    macrumors 65816


    Apr 28, 2003
    It's an open secret that Microsofts version of Skype for the Chinese market (tom Skype) has a back door and word filter so that if you type anything like "xinjiang" or "bomb" or thousands of other potentially sensitive words, it sends your whole conversation back to the Chinese Government for review. Don't see anyone in China's state run media complaining about that :p

    I guess this trouble is, Chinese law is flexible to how much influence your company has with the government. Recently Apple has been targeted by the state media with lots of tabloid style smear pieces for reasons unknown. It probably has a lot to do with China-US relations and would probably stop the minute the US started taking China's side in things like territorial disputes with it's neighbours. Having said that, the Chinese government said recently that iOS and Android is too dominant in the Chinese marketplace and they're developing their own state controlled OS for mobiles. Then you could guarantee they'd track everything :p
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2013
    While I don't believe Apple is actively conspiring with the NSA/GCHQ/MI5/6 or any of the other Five Eyes intelligence alliance members it definitely raises some very serious questions when an autocratic government that openly spies and monitors it's citizens which have no free speech then can call out a government agency in the free world about spying illegally on users and have some weight behind it's argument is pretty worrying.
    The US and UK are heading at break neck speed towards a very scary Orwellian future and I'm usually the sort of guy that finds conspiracies like that silly. But after the NSA/GCHQ revelations and the total lack of action over it, as well as spying on world leaders (Merkel) and the anti-'terrorism' laws that were very recently rushed through parliament here I have to assume the worst and expect that my civil rights to be totally disregarded.
    I usually consider UK justice to be ridiculously pathetic, but every few months I see people going to prison for an offence tweet or Facebook messages - stuff that while distasteful should by no means land you in prison - it's not in the near future, government control over our digital life's in a way I find immoral and illegal is already prolific. It needs to stop.
    When governments are scared of their people there is liberty, where people are scared of their governments there is tyranny and all that. All the stuff the founding fathers said over the pond like oppressive tyrinacal governments, banks representing a bigger threat than armies etc is all happening today.

    Anything to defend ourselves against them commies, or is it Muslims? Or terrorists? What's the media/governments flavour of the month?

    America, c'mon please wake up. A two party system that's completely at the servitude of lobbyists is no fit way to run a democratic country.

    As a Brit I am between a rock and a hard place, my government hasn't represented the people in a long time, the EU is becoming more autocratic by the day, the US is going down the toilet, Russia is kicking up a mess in the east of Europe and who do I get to realistically vote for? A complete freak of a champagne socialist and coward or a conservative who is only interested in selling off every national asset to his mates at rock bottom prices...

    Christ at least in China I would be under no false pretences.
  15. macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    Settings, Privacy, Location Services, System Services, Frequent Locations
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 21, 2013
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
    Pretty much same thing can be asked for USA as well. Since when did US care about its citizen's privacy? All I see is NSA and US soy agency monitoring everything everyone including its allies in the name of nation security.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 28, 2007
    One lie negates the validity of the whole statement.

    Apple WAS caught gathering all iPhone tracking data "to improve maps"! And unfortunately, this data was saved unencrypted on your phone and in backups, if you didn't put a password on your backup, leaving customers' data vulnerable.

    Apple had to make a public apology and provide the means to prevent sending tracking data to Apple.

    I agree that they probably don't on-sell this data like other companies, but can they really resist law enforcement and security authorities' requests for customers' data? Not without going to jail themselves.

    As for co-operating with authorities, I recall an NSA hack that existed allegedly without Apple's co-operation. Agents are recruited out of university and would be placed anywhere important, including corporations like Apple. Apple wouldn't need to co-operate, only certain employees.

    PR windowdressing. If the premise is a lie, the rest of the statement has to be viewed through that prism (excuse the pun).

    Silicon Valley (including Apple) sold out customers data for immunity from prosecution years ago. All this humble breast beating is only a result of Silicon Valley realising how damaging that sell-out will be with their customers, worldwide. You'd know this if you listened to the No Agenda show, instead of participating in the distraction of… the latest phone…

    China calling the kettle black is bad enough. Apple outright lying in response, is even lower.
  18. macrumors 68020

    Jan 22, 2009
    Apple Maps still suck, how the hell can it be security concern in China (erroneous location info)???
  19. macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    Well these are two features that Google and Samsung will NEVER copy.


    Let's have a source, shall we?
    I think you're forming a conspiracy theory by twisting the facts. So, please, prove me wrong with a credible source link. Thanks.
  20. macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Yeah, because China is only as free as North Korea...

    Same criticism applies to the US and UK governments.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Dec 29, 2008
    The issue here is that Americans have let the government overreact to 9/11 and now it is biting everyone in tech. The tech industry is partly to blame. The industry needs to really challenge the direction the US has taken toward fascism and so do it's citizens. Do nothing at your collective peril. Countries need to know they can trust American tech. Otherwise they won't use it. This had all gone way too far with the NSA and the government response is not persuading anyone anything has changed. Look at the US spying against Germany. The US just doesn't get it. Stupidity prevails. So sad.
  22. macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2008
    When China stops blocking social networking apps, let's its citizens search the "full web," and oh yeah, offers FREEDOM, then I'll listen to their concerns. They are only mad Apple doesn't have a way for them to intercept that location information. If they could get that info, they'd keep quiet.
  23. macrumors 65816


    Jul 11, 2008
    Every tech company should sign a pact NOT to ever divulge ANY information without a court order to any federal authority. Let the NSA threaten them, etc. What, they going to put them all out of business? Just go public. Look how that worked so far. If the NSA threatens you, go public. If any fed agency threatens you, go public.

    Now, I have to jump through all kinds of hoops just for the appearance of security, when these companies probably give up my info anyway. Whole disk encryption, TOR, 2-factor authentication, etc. I mean having to work so your data stays secure is becoming a job. And if companies are going to hand stuff over anyway, we are almost in China.
  24. macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2008
    Right. And there are no aliens either.

    Move along, nothing to see here.
  25. macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2014
    There's nothing "same" about the nature or level of criticisms towards Chinese gov and US/UK gov.

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