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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

iPhone's safety, privacy extras

Kudos to Apple for building extra layers of privacy and safety right into the iPhones of users who use apps that reveal their physical location. "Apple has long provided pop-ups that ask users to approve an app's use of location information before that app can get access," reports New York Times computer security blogger Riva Richmond, but there will be more in the iPhone's new operating system (OS 4). "To make it clearer just how often approved apps are collecting data about users’ physical whereabouts, Apple will display an arrow in the status bar at the top of the screen, right next to the battery-life indicator, whenever a user's location is being tracked." This is on top of any safety features provided by the services themselves (e.g., loopt's frequent privacy reminders and Glympse's see-where-I-am-only-for-the-next-30-minutes timeout feature, explained by ReadWriteWeb). As the Times's Richmond writes, we all love being able to find friends and great places to eat with the geolocation technology on all new phones, but we're not so crazy about letting just anybody track us or telling "a frienemy where the party is"!

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