The Apple location tracking controversy sprouted roughly two weeks ago after researchers revealed an unencrypted database file on iPhones that tracked up to a year's worth of location data. The situation has since dragged in all the other major mobile OS companies including Google, but has specifically landed Apple in a congressional hearing today.
Apple's vice president of software technology, Guy Tribble, testified before Congress to explain Apple's policies regarding location tracking. Tribble explained that the unencrypted location data file was due to a glitch in their iOS software that resulted in the file storing data indefinitely, instead for only one week. They recently released updates iOS 4.3.3 and 4.2.8 for the AT&T iPhone and the Verizon iPhone, respectively, that fixed this problem.
The new iPhone updates not only limit the data cache to one week, but also allow users to completely wipe out the data by turning off location services. Additionally, the data file will no longer be backed up to iTunes.
Tribble also explained to Congress that Apple does not collect the data to track its customers. The data gathered is only of the location of WiFi hotspots and cell towers that iPhones and iPads access. All of the data is completely anonymous and hence there is no way that Apple would know who it came from. He also insisted that Apple randomly audits its developers to ensure that they are not stealing this location data.
[via Business Insider]