Confirming speculation from some security researchers, Apple said in the statement posted on its Web site that the file in people’s iPhones was not a log of their location but rather “the locations of Wi-Fi hot spots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone.”Why do I say this? Because of this:
Apple said it used the data, which it called a cache, to calculate a device’s location more quickly than through GPS satellites.
But Apple acknowledged that it had made mistakes, which it attributed to programming errors, in storing the data for a long time, keeping the file unencrypted and storing the data even when users had chosen to turn off location services.
Apple has been collecting location information since 2008, when notice of that practice began to appear in its End User License Agreements for various Apple devices...Apple still has not offered any comment on the nature of the "partners and licensees" it shares the location data with, or the time period for which it retains the data. By using the phones and devices, users are implicitly giving Apple their consent to collect the data. But, the EULA explains, "users may withdraw this consent at any time by going to the Location Services setting on your iPhone and either turning off the global Location Services setting or turning off the individual location settings of each location-aware application on your iPhone."And this:
To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.And this:
Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.
Also questionable tables in the database with names *Harvest and *HarvestCounts. would be interesting to know what they are.Either Apple's programming and R&D departments are full of doofuses stumbling around like clowns in a Gary Larson cartoon, or the company just didn't give a shit. This is not the first time they've been asked to account for themselves, but this may be the first time they smelled blood in the water and realized it might be their own.