Chinese State-Run Media Labels iPhone's Location Tracking a 'National Security Concern'

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Apr 12, 2001
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China's state-run media broadcast today labeled Apple's location tracking services found iOS 7 and the iPhone a "national security concern", reports The Wall Street Journal. The broadcast cited researchers who said that those with access to the country's location data could gain "knowledge of the broader situation in China" and perhaps even state secrets.

The Chinese government said that it began developing these concerns about U.S. technology companies after the discovery of PRISM last year, which is a secret intelligence program ran by the NSA. In its broadcast, China's state run media said that Apple would need to "take on any legal responsibilities" if any data leaks harmed citizens.

Last year, a privacy lawsuit concerning Apple's location tracking services in iOS was dismissed by the US District Court of Northern California. The suit alleged that Apple was collecting location data in violation of its own privacy laws, however Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the plaintiffs had not provided sufficient evidence.

In the U.S., Apple has made a number of privacy-related moves in the past year, choosing to notify users of information requests from law enforcement and backing congressional bills to increase transparency in government surveillance.

The news also comes as Apple has made efforts towards improving its presence in China over the past few years, which include partnering with the country's biggest carrier China Mobile and opening new Apple Stores in populated regions. CEO Tim Cook has also visited the country numerous times, meeting with government officials and China Mobile executives to discuss market growth. Apple also became China's fifth-largest smartphone vendor in Q4 2013, taking 7% of the total market share in the country.

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Article Link: Chinese State-Run Media Labels iPhone's Location Tracking a 'National Security Concern'
 

dragje

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2012
850
537
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Is this just not negotiable with the Chinese government? Surely these "secret" locations consist less then 1% of all the maps in China to begin with. Just "blur" the region out, done.
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,343
2,841
The thick of it
Apple also became China's fifth-largest smartphone vendor in Q4 2013, taking 7% of the total market share in the country.
Perhaps that's closer to the real concern. It seems a bit disengenuous for China to claim concern for the privacy of its citizens.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,353
3,752
Perhaps that's closer to the real concern. It seems a bit disengenuous for China to claim concern for the privacy of its citizens.
To YOU yes. They’re suggesting that they don’t trust the US. Hell neither do I, (the germans don’t either BTW), I’m sure you see why. They’ve not demonstrated that they can't be trusted or fair.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,353
3,752
Yeah I'm sure it's the same living in the US/UK and in China. :rolleyes:
It’s probably closer than you think. They moan about the state monitoring their comms yet what’s happening here, (and this is only the stuff they admit)?
The, ‘free world’ isn’t necessarily what we think it is. In fact if you look at extraordinary rendition the free, advanced and developed world just commit their crimes elsewhere.
There is a lot I am aware of and have seen that would make you raise your eyebrows about western governments.
 

Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
3,563
1,079
UK
well you know the solution. Make your own phone thats better than iPhone. Then only you can have access to all that info.
 

2010mini

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2013
4,103
3,688
Wouldn't this apply to more than just the iPhone?
Same as when people were attacking McDonalds for making their kids fat. But left out all the rest of the food companies that make the same fatty foods
 

LV426

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2013
837
246
Settings | Privacy | Location Services > Off

I imagine it says something rather similar in Chinese, if you can be bothered to look for it.
 

iOSaddict

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2014
198
0
It’s probably closer than you think. They moan about the state monitoring their comms yet what’s happening here, (and this is only the stuff they admit)?
The, ‘free world’ isn’t necessarily what we think it is. In fact if you look at extraordinary rendition the free, advanced and developed world just commit their crimes elsewhere.
There is a lot I am aware of and have seen that would make you raise your eyebrows about western governments.
As someone who moved to a Western country from a communist state, I dont think you know what it's like to be living under a communist regime, so I advise you kindly think a bit before you talk so eloquently about unfree life.
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
10,300
10,383
UK
What happened to you, China? You used to be cool.
When was that? Before 1989 when actually their human rights record was worse?

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As someone who moved to a Western country from a communist state, I dont think you know what it's like to be living under a communist regime, so I advise you kindly think a bit before you talk so eloquently about unfree life.
China is much freer than the communist states used to be.
 

John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,097
617
Holocene Epoch
In iOS 7, Location Services are opt in. Someone has to turn it on, it's disabled by default.

Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> System Services -> Frequent Locations.

It can also be turned on and off at the service or app level, and you can see when it's being used and by what service or app.
 

mabhatter

macrumors 6502a
Jan 3, 2009
826
189
As someone who moved to a Western country from a communist state, I dont think you know what it's like to be living under a communist regime, so I advise you kindly think a bit before you talk so eloquently about unfree life.
It was China that took four years to ALLOW iPhone to be operated AT ALL because they were concerned that Internet posting from the devices by their people was not SUFFICENTLY TRACEBLE in the first place for the Government to properly monitor the goodwill of its people.
 

krravi

macrumors 65816
Nov 30, 2010
1,169
0
The biggest national security concern for the US is the fact that these phones are being made in China!
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,353
3,752
As someone who moved to a Western country from a communist state, I dont think you know what it's like to be living under a communist regime, so I advise you kindly think a bit before you talk so eloquently about unfree life.
I’ve done it.

This is going to get very political, so I’ll be leaving…...
 
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Peel

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2004
573
84
Seattle
Is this just not negotiable with the Chinese government? Surely these "secret" locations consist less then 1% of all the maps in China to begin with. Just "blur" the region out, done.
I don't think its the map itself that their concerned about. But if certain officials are seen traveling regularly between specific locations, it might be enough for foreign spies (using data collected legally or illegally from Apple) to build a dossier that leads to uncovering specific government/business links.

Or maybe I've just read too much Jean Le Carre and Tom Clancy.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2010
1,100
1,293
The broadcast cited researchers who said that those with access to the country's location data could gain "knowledge of the broader situation in China" and perhaps even state secrets.
One of the great things about Google Earth/Maps is that it makes this sort of nonsense obsolete. Does the Great Firewall block access to Google Earth/Maps? I guess the government thinks that most citizens are not familiar with it?
 

Val-kyrie

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2005
1,892
1,179
Wouldn't this apply to more than just the iPhone?
I posted elsewhere (with a link to the source) that China has already been contemplating an outright ban of Apple and Google products allegedly due to fears of NSA spying. Anandtech also mentions, however, that China is encouraging its own companies to copy and reproduce products sold by Apple and Google, hardware and software (their homebrew OS already looks a lot like OS X). I believe the NSA spying debacle is only a smokescreen for their real reasons, which are likely many.