Steve Jobs Responds To iPhone Location Tracking Issue

iPhone Location

The iPhone location tracking issue reported last week by Security Researchers has raised quite a bit of controversy. As reported earlier today, Apple is being investigated by privacy regulators in South Korea, France, Italy and Germany, US Senators are writing open letters to Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs and some have already started suing Apple.

Apple has surprisingly been silent on the issue, which is usually a good time for Steve Jobs to clarify things.

MacRumors reports that Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has responded to a concerned user clarifying that “We don’t Track Anyone”.

MacRumors has posted the following email exchange between the user and Steve Jobs:

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me.

A: Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Sent from my iPhone

There is not enough evidence to prove the authenticity of the email but Steve Jobs is known to periodically reply to emails from customers with such short replies.

Last week, Google spokesperson admitted to Wall Street Journal that it sends anonymous location data from Android based smartphones to its servers when users opt-in to using location services, which is turned on by default and informs users about it while setting it up. According to Google, it collects this data to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices.

Based on Apple’s response to questions on location tracking and privacy last year, it looks like Apple also collects data for similar purposes. So Steve Jobs’s comment (if the email is not a fake) stating “We don’t track anyone” probably refers to the hidden file in which iPhone and iPad 3G records location data as there is currently no evidence to suggest that this file is being uploaded to Apple servers.

Do you think this is blown out of proportion? What do you think Apple should do to address this issue?