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IOS Privacy Upgrades Apple Your Rights Online

iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking 323

schwit1 (797399) writes 'It wasn't touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy.As spotted by Frederic Jacobs, the changes have to do with the MAC address used to identify devices within networks. When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize the MAC address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network.'
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iOS 8 Strikes an Unexpected Blow Against Location Tracking

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @02:55AM (#47200741)

    Generally, I've found this to be true. Their business model does not depend on a lack of customer privacy like Google.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @03:00AM (#47200757)

    Apple allready knows who you are and what you are doing and where you are and where you have been ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @03:07AM (#47200805)

    True. But I think the point is that Google's business plan depends on 3rd parties. It's not exactly a good comparison, but this is one more example of Apple's positive protection of customer's privacy againsts Google's equal number of negative examples.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @03:10AM (#47200821)

    The point is that there are many networks out there pinging for MAC addresses that the user DOESN'T connect to.

  • Lack of intent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Camael ( 1048726 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @03:25AM (#47200887)

    In your example, the prosecutors were able to argue that deliberately using a utility to intentionally change your MAC address was akin to taking steps to file off the serial numbers of a car. This is because Aaron intended to change his MAC address and deliberately took steps to effect the change.

    If future iPhones automatically change their MAC address, on their own, without any intervention by their user, where is the crucial element of acting with intent or deliberation?

    It is far too soon to cry wolf.

  • Re:Security (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @03:33AM (#47200927)

    Uh, yeah. MAC filtering will work as well as it ever works, which is to say providing no more than the illusion of security.

    What this does accomplish, though, is a real measure of somewhat increased privacy.

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @03:40AM (#47200943) Homepage

    More specifically this is about 3rd parties tracking you, without paying Apple.
    All this does is close up the tracking options that compete with Apple's tracking options.
    As for Google, I suspect we'll see this happening on Android phones soon enough as MAC tracking competes with Google as well.

  • Correct. The only difference is that they don't like to share...

  • Thanks - I suspected that this was the case, but wasn't sure.

    Location tracking stays turned off in my iOS device. A nuisance when you want a quick look at the streetmap of the area you're in.

    I suspect this entire ploy is so that iBeacons can be marketed more effectively.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @04:30AM (#47201055) Homepage Journal

    It is true.

    The reason is that for Apple, you are the customer. For Google, you are the product, because its customers are the advertisers.

  • Re:Security (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @05:02AM (#47201157) Homepage

    Not, crappy security is not better that no security. When users know there's no security, they may be slightly cautious. If they belive there's security in place, they might let their guard down, so this false sensation of security is actually a bad thing.

  • by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @05:03AM (#47201163) Homepage

    Your enterprise networks gets crashed by a [broken?] device that scans for availabe wireless networks?
    Looks like your enterprise network has some very serious issues you'll want to look into asap!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @06:28AM (#47201393)

    Great selling point. But: Have you looked at the source code? There's a lot of it. Did you understand it all? Did you find any bugs or holes?

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @07:28AM (#47201573)

    With Android, you can see the source code

    And you've seen the source code for the Android device in your hand? Right. Didn't think so. Hell, even if you compiled it yourself I seriously doubt you looked. Furthermore 99.9999% of people wouldn't have the foggiest idea where to find the relevant bits of code even if they did have the source code. Which they don't. And even if they did they certainly don't have time to review all the code themselves. I'm as big a supporter of open source as anyone here but I'm under no illusion that it protects me from a company like Google.

    Google isn't trying to hide anything from anyone, unlike Apple.

    If you believe that I have some property I'd like to sell you. Just because they have a cute motto about not being evil doesn't mean much. Google is no better than Apple when it comes to collecting and selling information about you. They are an advertising company and that is how they make their money. They may not sell all your specific information to specific buyers but they definitely are using that information to make money. And if you think they aren't hiding anything just try waltzing into their headquarters and snooping around sometime. Tell me how that goes for you.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @08:01AM (#47201687) Homepage Journal

    It goes back to the other comments, while others cannot track you. That doesn't mean Apple isn't doing the collecting themselves and selling it off, or being requested by the FBI, NSA to give up what they have.

    This makes for a pointless argument. Essentially you are saying that turning tracking off completely somehow gets respected, but turning it off selectively somehow doesn't. That makes absolutely no sense. If they want to sell you out, it doesn't matter how you disable tracking.

  • by thoromyr ( 673646 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @09:48AM (#47202365)

    really? I know they were roundly accused of this with no evidence ever provided other than a bug which caused excessive *local* retention of location data. Interestingly, it came out at about the same time that *google* was in fact shipping the location data back to the mothership (something Apple doesn't do) with no retention limits evident.

    As a company, Google *depends* on eliminating privacy -- it is the source of their revenue. Apple depends on hardware sales. So while they make some money by selling aggregated data (and try to foist obnoxious things like itunes radio on their users) that is not actually their core business nor a significant part of their revenue stream. When Apple advertised an earlier incarnation of icloud as being better privacy they didn't call out Google specifically -- they didn't need to. The people who cared already knew who they are talking about.

    But somehow Apple is the anti-privacy company and google is okay. I never understand the fanboys.

    If you want to bust on Apple, great, I'm all for it. Just bust them on things they are actually guilty of and don't try to misrepresent them. They've definitely done some bad things, but strangely they don't seem to get beat up for things they've really done (or the issue is misrepresented).

    What I'm saying is that while it may be fun to trot out things like the "640K should be enough for everyone" to bust on Bill Gates that is an urban myth and he never said it. Instead, bust on him for things that he *did* do (like hire someone else to pirate CPM). Same for Apple and Jobs (I just have a somewhat better memory for the Microsoft end of things, hence using MS-centric example).

  • by Andreas Mayer ( 1486091 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @10:03AM (#47202495) Homepage

    This is nothing more then PR twisting, by a company that is suspected of willfully working with spying/law enforcement agencies.

    To me to have the press sit there an report this without highlighting the companies past and current data collecting activities is misleading the public into thinking they are somehow safe, or just to give people a false sense of security as a way to sell more phones then your competitor.

    First, *every* US company is suspected to work together with the NSA. So Apple isn't worse off in that regard.

    Second, this feature is not about avoiding the NSA. The spooks can just utilize the cell network to track you. This feature is about *everyone else* trying to track you. Because, you know, not everyone is able to spoof a cell tower. But everyone *is* able to put up a WiFi hotspot.

    Third, *of course* this is about selling more devices. And what's wrong with trying to make money by offering something actually useful?

  • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @12:34PM (#47203885) Homepage

    Apple doesn't care as much about profit after the fact because they got 45% off of you as soon as you bought their phone.

    Even if you turn off every function on your phone--including the phone--and kept it in airplane mode the whole time like some sort of absurdly expensive iPod, Apple already made a profit.

    So there's no need for Apple to take a 30% cut on ever transaction you made, because they already made a profit. The only reason they do so is they want to make more money. yes somehow you think that, when it comes down to user data, they don't want to make money from selling it to partners?

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!