SmartMoney Blogs

Pay Dirt
A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

Online Tracking - All posts tagged Online Tracking

  • Apr 28, 2011
    12:13 PM ET

    Apple Tracking: Good Day To Bury Bad News?

    Hundreds of people have been photographed today in Tokyo standing in line for the iPad 2 and holding up the fabled tablets to the waiting media. The launch was pushed back there due to Japan’s devastating earthquake last month, but Apple’s decision to announce its launch there and in a series of other countries this week was timely for perhaps another reason.

    iStockphoto

    On Friday we will see even more images of hundreds more happy consumers in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Israel, Singapore, and other jurisdictions when the iPad 2 is launched in those countries too. The iPad 2 will also be available in China on May 6th, Apple said Wednesday. And today the long-delayed white iPhone 4 is released globally.

    Is it a coincidence that Apple made these much-anticipated announcements on the same day it finally broke its week-long silence on tracking and storing iPhone customers’ location data? Or did the marketing people at Apple decide to front-load the good news with the bad?

  • Apr 27, 2011
    11:30 AM ET

    Apple Speaks: We’re (Sort Of) Not Tracking You

    Apple speaks!

    One week after two researchers revealed that your iPhone is storing your movements, the company has finally broken its silence. Here’s the headline: “Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”

    That’s telling you. Apple says we’re confused, that’s all. One tiny caveat: if you click an iPhone ad, you share your location with that advertiser.

    Getty Images

    “Why is everyone so concerned about this?” Apple asks itself in an online Q&A. It replies, “Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology including Apple have not provided enough education about these issues to date.” Apple says the issue has raised complex technical questions that can’t be answered in a single soundbite, but insists all data collected is anonymous.

    Apple says it’s not logging your location. “Rather it’s maintaining a database of Wifi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.”

    In other words, it’s safe to go to the dry cleaners again (and stop off at a bar on the way home).

  • Apr 26, 2011
    12:07 PM ET

    Would You Support A “Do Not Track” Law?

    As questions swirl around the storage of location data by users of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android phones, momentum is building among lawmakers for legislation to regulate the issue of cell phone companies tracking their customers and – this is the sticky bit – storing that information at their headquarters for other purposes such as market research.

    Getty Images

    Before the latest brouhaha over Apple and Google, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, in February introduced the “Do Not Track Me Online” Bill to direct the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe regulation on smart phone tracking. Erin Ryan, a legislative aid for Speier, believes that all the attention the issue has received will certainly help.

    “We’re optimistic that there will be action at some time in the coming months,” Ryan says. “Consumers need a clear easy way to opt out of tracking from the moment they enter the web environment.” Speier is one of several lawmakers working on such legislation.

    Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, has “invited” representatives from Google and Apple to take part in a hearing on May 10 in Washington D.C. with the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Confirmed witnesses include officials from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, and Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Project on Consumer Privacy.

    Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has also called for a meeting with Google and Apple.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.