iPhone in privacy crosshairs (week in review)

This week, Apple's smartphone proved pivotal in helping the company and its partner carriers attain strong quarterly earnings, but was also the target of criticism for keeping a log of its users' whereabouts.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
4 min read

Apple's iPhone took center stage this week for its role in helping the company and its partner carriers attain strong quarterly earnings, but it was also the target of criticism for keeping a log of its users' whereabouts, and is the focus of a new round of patent suits with Samsung.

Privacy concerns surfaced earlier this week when researchers announced that they found what looked like secret files on the iPhone that track user location and store it on the device without the permission of the device owner.

It's still unclear what the data is used for and why Apple has been collecting it in iOS products that carry a 3G antenna for nearly a year now. But CNET put together an FAQ with details on where the data is stored and whether users should be worried. Among those demanding answers is U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, who wrote a letter Apple CEO Steve Jobs seeking an explanation.

Later reporting indicates that not only have law authorities long known about iPhone and iPad tracking logs, they and have used that geolocation data to aid criminal investigations. And they might also be getting the same type of information from Android devices as well.

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Meanwhile, the iPhone contributed to yet another blowout financial quarter for Apple and its carrier brethren as well. Apple once again beat expectations, pulling in $24.67 billion in revenue during its most recent quarter. It sold 18.65 million iPhones, 3.76 million Macs, and a less-than-expected 4.69 million iPads

That put Apple ahead of handset giant Nokia in terms of phone revenue. Nokia's earnings this week beat expectations, but it appears challenges await.

Despite the fact that rival Verizon is now selling iPhones, AT&T logged its best-ever first quarter for smartphone sales. Verizon, too, seems to be sharing in the iPhone love, reporting strong growth for wireless subscribers and a healthy start to its iPhone business.
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