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Apple Answers iAds Privacy Concerns

July 19, 2010

Apple made a few changes to its privacy policy at the end of June along with the release of iOS 4 and iAds. As you might remember, iAds raised a certain amount of concern regarding how much Apple really knows about us, and to what extent we are being tracked. The debacle motivated two senators; Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), to write to Steve Jobs to ask for some more details. Surprisingly, their concerns were answered by Apple through a very detailed 13 page document made public today.

Available here (PDF link), the document first presents Apple's policy changes, then goes deeper into explaining how each system deals with private data and how Apple informs the user about it. It also explains how to opt-out of each service.

For iAds, we find on pages nine and twelve, that the precise location coordinates are actually first converted into a zip code before they're used in any way. It seems the zip code data is associated with your device and stored for 6 months (for administrative and improvement purposes only, they claim).

Furthermore, apparently nothing is shared with advertisers, even when an iAd specifically asks the user to share his location. Once again, you can see the full document here.

Reassured? Or, still feeling tracked?

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