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Apple's privacy headache (week in review)

Apple says it's not stalking iPhone users, while Sony reports a massive security breach. Also: streaming deals.

A map showing location tracking information from the iPhone.
A map showing location-tracking information from the iPhone. O'Reilly Radar

Apple wants iPhone users to know that it is not stalking them.

The company finally broke its silence on the iPhone tracking controversy in an FAQ posted to its Web site, saying it's only trying to get more accurate location information. The fact that Apple has been storing location information on consumer devices--unencrypted and without a customers' permission--has caused an uproar in the privacy community.

In the FAQ, Apple says that it is not tracking users whereabouts. Instead it said it is logging the locations of Wi-Fi hot spots and cell phone towers that are close to the iPhone and is maintaining a database in an attempt to improve location-based services. Apple said that it cannot track individual users with the location information that is sent to the company because it is sent to Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form.
•  Jobs, Apple execs discuss iPhones and location (Q&A)
•  Apple advises users how location data can be used

However, a Democratic congressman isn't satisfied with Apple's explanation and wants a federal probe into the Cupertino software marker's privacy practices, CNET has learned. Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington said through a spokesman that a Federal Trade Commission investigation is still needed to "ensure all the questions regarding this issue, including the lack of disclosure, are answered."
•  Jobs says Apple will testify on location issue
•  AG wants answers on tracking from Apple, Google
•  Apple sued over location tracking in iOS

Like Apple and Google, Microsoft collects records of the physical locations of customers who use its mobile operating system. Windows Phone 7, supported by manufacturers including Dell, HTC, LG, Nokia, and Samsung, transmits to Microsoft a miniature data dump including a unique device ID, details about nearby Wi-Fi networks, and the phone's GPS-derived exact latitude and longitude.
•  Privacy panic debate: Whose data is it?

More headlines

Sony: Personal info compromised on PSN

Sony says billing addresses, user names, passwords, and possibly credit card information belonging to its PlayStation Network customers have been stolen.
•  Hackers claim to have stolen PSN credit card info
•  Five questions for Sony about PSN breach
•  Sony sued for PlayStation Network data breach
•  Are fraud reports related to Sony breach?

Report: YouTube finally readying premium movie rentals

Google's video-sharing site has signed on three major Hollywood studios for the service, which could launch in the next week or two.
•  Report: Fox, Paramount holdouts on YouTube rentals
•  DirecTV working on Netflix-like streaming service?
•  Dish Network completes acquisition of Blockbuster

FBI warns of China-related wire transfer fraud

Data-stealing malware grabs banking credentials from small businesses for fraudulent wire transfers to firms in China, FBI says.
•  Iran targeted in new malware attack

Microsoft posts strong quarterly results, sales

Software giant offset slowing PC sales with big gains in its Office and Xbox product lines, reporting net income of $5.23 billion and a 13 percent sales gain.
•  Apple tops Microsoft's quarterly sales, profits
•  RIM cuts expectations amid weak BlackBerry sales

Nintendo: Wii successor coming in 2012

The console maker says it will formally unveil the upcoming system at E3 in June. Rumor has it that the device could cost $400 and be far more powerful than the current console.
•  How the Wii's successor affects the console business

Five business models to boost electric cars

As electric vehicles come to market, the auto and utility industries are experimenting with new business models to clear the way for the technology.
•  Study: Electric cars, hybrids too expensive for most
•  Calif. highways could be source of green energy
•  Google, DOE building definitive electric-car map

Also of note
•  Verizon Wireless promises fix for LTE outage
•  Police use sat-nav data to place speed cameras
•  Russian police free kidnapped Kaspersky son