It was revealed that Apple’s iPhones were storing details of customer movements for more than a year and was even backing the data up.
At the time the Tame Apple Press did not have an answer to why their favourite company was spying on them. Some excitedly suggested that maybe Apple had some new product that it was going to give them.
The idea that Apple might be an evil control-freak voyeur which likes to spy on its users as a method of controlling them never seemed to occur to them.
The fact Apple refused to comment was a sign that such evil things were beneath the cargo cult, rather than a red-faced admission of guilt. Besides, such activity was not illegal, Apple users had signed away any privacy when they bought their Apple.
Another site had a go at trying to say the data was useless because it failed to accurately describe a train trip that the Apple hack had made, even if it did seem to show him making the trip.
“Smartphones running Google’s Android software collect data about the user’s movements in almost exactly the same way as the iPhone,” said the Guardian.
The downside with this angle is that it is not exactly true. While Android does record data exactly the same way, it does not obsessively store it for any great length of time like the iPhone.
It keeps a record of the locations and unique IDs of the last 50 mobile masts that it has communicated with, and the last 200 Wi-Fi networks that it has “seen”. However these are overwritten, oldest first, when the list is full.
While it can tell you what you have been doing in the last day, it will not track your movements over the last year, like the iPhone does.
While the iPhone data can be pulled using a simple piece of software, you’d need to have some pretty natty computer skills to pull the same data out of Android.
Apple seems to be relying on its chums in the press to sow some doubt in the original story and it is pretty amazing that rather than sticking the boot into Jobs’ Mob for spying, the press seems to be looking for ways to get the toymaker off the hook.