Australian authorities are not saying whether they will follow the lead of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who has demanded that both Apple and Google explain how data obtained from their respective mobile phones are collected, stored and what use the data is put to after being collected.Calls to Communication Minister Stephen Conroy’s office were not returned at the time of posting this story.
Late last week it was identified that both Apple and Google were obtaining data from Smartphones whether they were on or off. What authorities now want to know is whether the location data is being abused or collected surreptitiously.
Both companies have denied that the data is used to track users or that the collection of the data represents a security risk. Apple CEO Steve Jobs directly responded to an e-mail inquiry about the location storage by saying Apple “doesn’t track anyone,” while Google maintains that unique identifiers and location information it collects and stores are tied only to device IDs and not associated with individual users.
The recent discovery that the location cache on Apple’s iOS devices is unencrypted and available to anyone with physical access to the device led to questions about why this data was being held on to, and also the accusation that Android devices collect and store the same data (and may allow its use by third parties without informing users).
Earlier this week a Telstra executive admitted that the carrier collected user data, they said that the information was used for “marketing” purposes.
In the USA a lawsuit has already been filed against Apple regarding location tracking on iPhones and 3G iPads, according to Bloomberg. Two customers have reportedly filed a federal complaint in Tampa, Florida, alleging privacy invasion and computer fraud.