Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Big Brother is dead. Long live The iBrother!

Apple introduced its groundbreaking Macintosh with a spectacular advertisement named after the famous novel of George Orwell, 1984. In this advertisement, directed by Ridley Scott, an unnamed heroine represents the coming of Macintosh as a means of saving humanity from conformity. The year was 1984.

In 1984, Macintosh became the first commercially successful personal computer with a mouse and graphical user interface rather than a command line one and set the standard for today's computers. Nearly 3 decades later, Apple introduced iPhone which truly opened the smartphone to masses and iPad which became the first commercially successful tablet PC.

But can we still associate Apple's image with that sexy lady who threw a hammer into the face of The Big Brother? Unfortunately whenever I see someone sucked into his/her iPhone, I cannot take myself remembering the crowds in that advertisement, who were equally sucked into the large screen from where The Big Brother was talking to them.

Apple Advertisement 1984

Another news came recently which makes me associate Apple more to The Big Bro:
Today at Where 2.0 Pete Warden and I will announce the discovery that your iPhone, and your 3G iPad, is regularly recording the position of your device into a hidden file. Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps. We're not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it's clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations.
A year ago, Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell sent a letter to two congressmen and explained and disclosed location-data collection techniques used by Apple. He told that data is collected without specific user details and is not associated with the user's phone. But now researchers discovered that iPhone and iPad indeed records user location with details and doing it for the last 1 year. And when the phone is synchronized with a computer, this secretly collected data is transferred to the computer.

Why is Apple secretly compiling data about its users? What it would be used for? Congressman Al Franken asked this question directly to the chairman Steve Jobs. We do not have the answer yet. But if you would like to turn off Apple's ability to store your location data, simply turning location tracking off from smartphone settings. But be careful, this will also turn of the location tracking for a lot of applications depending on this data.

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