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TMCNet:  Apple Hits Back At China's State Secret Claims

[July 14, 2014]

Apple Hits Back At China's State Secret Claims

(Sky News (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Apple has denied that its iPhone poses a threat to Chinese national security after the state broadcaster said it could transmit "state secrets".

It carried a report on Friday in which a researcher raised concerns over iOS 7's frequent locations feature, which collects data on where iPhone users travel.

Online security expert Ma Ding said the system could result in the leak of secrets.

But Apple has said it does not have access to the locally stored data.

A spokesman said: "Unlike many companies, our business does not depend on collecting large amounts of personal data about our customers." The iPhone’s "frequent locations" tracking function is used to record frequently visited places.


The function was introduced as part of the iOS 7 software update last autumn and can be turned off.

Apple said a crowd-sourced database of known locations was collected from millions of devices to speed up the location-finding service.

However users were reassured that no data sent from individual phones could be used to identify them.

Apple added: "Calculating a phone's location using just GPS satellite data can take several minutes.

"iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using pre-stored WLAN hotspot and cell tower location data in combination with information about which hotspots and cell towers are currently being received by the iPhone.

"We do this at the device level. Apple does not track users' locations - Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so." Apple officially began selling the iPhone in China in January through the world’s largest mobile phone carrier China Mobile.

(c) Sky News 2014

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