April 26, 2011 at 4:25 PM ET
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple for the location-based tracking it does on iPhones and other devices that use the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 4.
The lawsuit, filed by two men in Florida, says that "users of Apple products have ... no way to prevent Apple from collecting this information because even if users disable the iPhone and iPad GPS components, Apple's tracking system remains fully functional."
Last week, two researchers said they discovered that iPhones — as well as 3G-enabled iPads — running iOS 4 constantly record and store their users' locations in unencrypted files, wrote msnbc.com's Rosa Golijan. "These files are basically very long lists of latitude-longitude coordinates and timestamps, and they can be found on the devices themselves as well as within the software backups saved on users' computers," she wrote.
Apple has yet to make a public statement. But CEO Steve Jobs reportedly believes much ado is being made about nothing, according to MacRumors.com, which said one of its readers emailed Jobs asking about the issue, and that he did have this to say:
Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It's kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don't track me.
Here was Jobs' answer, supposedly:
A: Oh yes they do. We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false.
Sent from my iPhone
As PC Magazine notes, "This is just the latest lawsuit to stem from press reports about Apple privacy-related matters.":
In January, a California man filed suit, accusing Apple of producing devices that allow ad networks to track a user's app activity. A month later, another man filed a similar suit against Apple for transmitting user information to third parties without permission. And earlier this month, a Pennsylvania man filed suit against Apple for what he considered to be the "unlawful exploitation" of children (and their parents' wallets) via Cupertino's in-app purchasing policies.