Is “1984” required reading at Apple headquarters?

Apple LocationThe next operating system release from Apple, Snow Leopard, is going to include the CoreLocation framework already available for iPhone developers. And…

Since Macs don’t include GPS technology like the iPhone 3G, CoreLocation will utilize a Mac’s existing networking hardware to triangulate the system’s location in a manner similar to the way the original iPhone was able to use the technology to emulate a true global positioning signal.

This may all seem very interesting to those who don’t mind strangers knowing where they are 24/7, but for those of us who value our liberty, we’d rather not have this stuff as default.

No, there is no tinfoil hat here. This is a choice issue – the first of which is the choice to NOT use an iPhone and NOT use mobile maps (unless they are installed resident in my phone’s memory) because I really don’t care to have corporate behemoths knowing where I’m at and where I’m going all the time (and that goes for Apple, Google, and my mobile carrier). Unless the CoreLocation services can be easily disabled, you’re going to have to scrutinize every app you install on your Mac for the access, or not use your networking hardware if you enjoy piece of mind.

I’m personally not willing to deal with the privacy hassles – unless the services can be removed, Leopard is going to be the last Apple operating system upgrade I ever employ.

RELATED: A reaction to reactions on Google Latitude. Hard to have a problem with something that is opt-in.


I think the main issue here is intent, both in terms of your actions and others.

People are going to say that mobile carriers know where you are going, but they really don’t. They might have some idea where you are at any given time (and maybe where you just came from), but they really have no clue where you are headed. If you are under active surveillance, then someone might know where you are going with high probability, based on previous data collection and analysis of your whereabouts, but that’s an extreme (and very unlikely) circumstance.

But, if you If you are standing in your driveway, and you use Google Maps for Mobile to search for a restaurant where your friends are, you are telegraphing intent to Google that you are heading that way. And while that is all fine and dandy, I’d limit myself to using such services in cases of real need. Sooner or later you’ll be driving down the road, and your phone is going to start buzzing as you pass by businesses – it’s inevitable, and potentially a hazardous distraction. Thankfully, the service is opt-in.

As for the Intel bit, well you’d hope this CoreLocation stuff would reflect previous knowledge about the reaction of users to such ’embedded features’. Sure – web services and software can get a idea of where you are logging in from, but you can also generally block applications from ‘phoning home’. Will the same go for applications that are built on the operating system framework? I don’t know.

But again, I don’t want the fricken hassle of dealing with it. If a bot can turn on firewalls to protect itself from other viruses, why can’t a simple utility constantly turn back on the location services you just turned off?

What a potential fricken nightmare.

Craig Berg says:

Do I hear the pit a pat of tiny little feet back to the Microsoft camp 😉

Yep – whenever Microsoft gets within a light year of Linux benchmarks, or hell freezes (which ever comes first) I’ll switch. Caveat: that is if I can figure out which of the dozen versions of Windows 7 is most suitable, and Microsoft pays me for the time it takes to figure that bullshit out.

Believe me brother, nobody wants to hijack my webcam, particularly if I’m sitting in front of it. They’d be horrified at my ugly mug!

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