News24

iPhone 5 tracking users - report

2012-10-18 08:01

Cape Town - While many South Africans wait for the local launch of the iPhone 5, it has emerged that Apple has quietly switched on user tracking in the latest operating system.

In 2011, the California-based company came under fire for tracking users and storing the information in an unencrypted file.

Apple removed the ability, but according to Business Insider report, has subtly included the tracking for advertisers in its latest operating system that drives the iPhone 5.

Each iPhone is assigned a unique number which advertisers can use to see which web pages are being browsed and serve targeted ads to users.

Google's Android operating system also makes use of tracking, but it is off by default.

However, according to the report, the tracking functionality in iOS 6 on by default, and users have to navigate to "General Settings" rather than "Privacy" to switch it off.

Confusingly, switching the iPhone user tracking off requires one to switch on "Limited Ad Tracking", which implies that tracking will still occur.

The growth in mobile smartphone devices has spurred new way for advertisers to get their messages to consumers and several ad networks are dedicated to serving adverts on mobile devices.

Some apps are thinly disguised ad servers and litter devices with spam, while yet others serve ads that target users based on various metrics, including browsing habits.

Networks like LeadBolt, Cauly and Millennial collect personally identifiable information on user behaviour to target specific ads.

The iPhone tracking allows advertisers to track user interaction with content and most users leave default settings on devices are they are.

"The biggest thing we're excited about is that it's on by default, so we expect most people will leave it on," said Mobile Theory CEO Scott Swanson.
 

Comments
  • pmbadenhorst - 2012-10-18 08:11

    and i should care why ?! they are the last of many operating systems to do this

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-10-18 08:41

      Welcome to the New World Order? we are being tracked everywhere I'm not a big apple fan but I think the question we should be asking ourselves is, who is NOT tracking us?

      pmbadenhorst - 2012-10-18 09:18

      its simply doesnt affect me - if you dont like ads turn them off if you like them they are more effective - how much sugar im putting in my coffee is a bigger concern than if apple shares what i browse

      daryltt - 2012-10-18 09:36

      Yes, but other systems ask first. Apple just assumes you're alright with it.

      norman.depluhm - 2012-10-18 10:04

      Guys, it's not hidden. It's not a conspiracy. Switch it off if your an iFan. If you're an android fan who believes it's a more secure ecosystem than apple's, then, well, you keep telling yourself that.

  • reymister619 - 2012-10-18 08:21

    That is why many (including myself) don't like Apple, they dictate to you how to use the device. Got a free iPad from work, my kids play with it. There are so many restrictions with iPad, only the desparate or the infinitely patient would want to use it.

      nishan.sitlu - 2012-10-18 08:44

      SO it isn't only me who has realised this? Apple may build a good quality product but the Android devices are just better for everyday use.

      mcarinhas - 2012-10-18 09:30

      ....and that is why its so much more stable.

  • ernst.f.dewaal - 2012-10-18 08:21

    Because it's invasion of privacy. that said, i bet you don't like being called by salespeople on a regular basis trying to sell you stuff, well, advertising this way is basically the same as telesales,it's annoying and Apple can basically track your every move, and you are right, other operating systems do it as well, but they've got the functionality to switch tracking off, which IOS doesn't have. "Confusingly, switching the iPhone user tracking off requires one to switch on "Limited Ad Tracking", which implies that tracking will still occur.

      Jo.Davies123 - 2012-10-18 08:27

      Would be interesting to see how this relates to the Consumer Prottection Act. Any ideas anyone?

  • PumaFred - 2012-10-18 08:32

    Does no one speak proper English at News24 so that articles can be correctly proof read to find missing words and poor grammar

  • elewies - 2012-10-18 08:37

    South Africans should also be wary of the fact that iOS6 has a bug concerning the switch over between 3G connectivity and WiFi. Apparently when you move away from your WiFi network the phone still downloads all the content you configured to download only when a WiFi connection is available, using 3G. Apparantly up to 2GBs more per month. Our service providers will never let consumers in on this and the poor iSheep will just have to cough up. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/oct/17/iphone-5-iphone

  • adrian.hill.750 - 2012-10-18 08:42

    The Apple is vrot

      lablue.phoenix - 2012-10-18 08:45

      Geesh that was lame man.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-18 10:44

      Maybe lame, but 100% true...

  • peter.hall.3956 - 2012-10-18 08:48

    On the positive side - i hate getting advertising that is of no interest to me, filter out the rubbish and give me what i want! As stated you can always turn it off - i think it is a great step forward, well done Apple!

      paul.bester1 - 2012-10-18 09:13

      Spoken like a true Apple fanboy. And just like an Apple fan, you're completely ignoring the flaws in the device: As stated in the article: "Confusingly, switching the iPhone user tracking off requires one to switch on "Limited Ad Tracking", which implies that tracking will still occur." this, in my opinion, is not turning it off. They can still track you and send ads your way. User tracking and spamming of advertising in any way whatsoever is not a step forward. So, NOT well done Apple at all...

  • gaius.longinus.9 - 2012-10-18 08:49

    Big Apple is watching you!

  • rlong1952 - 2012-10-18 08:51

    Making a mountain out of a mole hill, just turn it off.... good grief, people get their nickers in a knot about nothing.

      paul.bester1 - 2012-10-18 09:15

      Read the article again: "Confusingly, switching the iPhone user tracking off requires one to switch on "Limited Ad Tracking", which implies that tracking will still occur." That's not turning it off. I don't know about you, but when I turn off a light in my house, for example, I expect it to be off not just get dimmer and offering me "limited" illumination...

  • andrew.arnesen - 2012-10-18 09:01

    Yup, and add to that all the tracking by Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc and you have to get to a point where you realize that every deed or utterance is being collected, stored, collated and profiled. These companies (and by inference government bodies) will have more detailed data on you than your own mother! At present targeted advertising doesn't seem dangerous but perish the thought that they will use it for other, more sinister, purposes such as classifying you as a terrorist...

  • haig.tait - 2012-10-18 09:08

    HONESTLY NEWS24 needs to catch a wake up with there tech news this was reported on Gizmodo 3 weeks ago?????? why do you people take so long to report stuff like this and by the way it doesnt track you it just allows advertisers to see what you are interested in your HEADING IS FALSIFYING information as they dont track you.....and it is OFF by default.

      norman.depluhm - 2012-10-18 10:06

      Hehehe yup. Trust news24 to publish a devious headline for old news and cash in on some or other popular social bandwagon. In this case, iBashers and iFans....

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-18 10:47

      "it doesnt track you it just allows advertisers to see what you are interested in" - Haig, Haig, *sigh*... That IS tracking.

      haig.tait - 2012-10-19 10:41

      stirrer.stirrer plz re-read the headline why not say apple is letting advertisers see what there customers are most interested in...tracking is when they are literally following your every move who you calling who you seeing so stirrer.stirrer *SIGH* PLEASE RE--READ THE HEADLINE

  • andy.t.mcdermott - 2012-10-18 09:58

    Give me a lower browsing price if I accept the ad's, simple solution! Just like "Qwik fit" sticking their banner on your bumper after you get new tyres! I always say to the guy give me 10% discount and I won't rip it off.

  • kseyffert - 2012-10-18 10:33

    The only way to kill this is for all of you to accept my policy on this issue. Any advert via mobile whether test or a call is automatically refused. I also disregard product selections from other sources when I remember they had bugged me on my mobile. If we all do this then anyone targeting mobile platforms will lose way too much business to consider it. That and only that will stop this trend. Sadly, none of you will take this attitude so indeed, this is with us for the long run and you may as well get used to it.

  • jaco.duplessis.7 - 2012-10-18 11:14

    Very true

  • Cloudgazer - 2012-10-18 15:01

    where under 'general settings' can you turn this function off? i don't see any option to do so.

  • rudi.lombard - 2012-10-18 16:18

    Makes me think of a certain South Park episode called "Kyle Centipad". Kyle agrees to the terms of iTunes without reading it and unwillingly agrees to an experiment by Apple where he gets sown ass to mouth to ass with two other people!

  • branden.hart - 2012-11-05 07:14

    AND???? - So you think Facebook doesn't track you, News24 doesn't track you? Get a life people; Every interaction on the internet tracks you, Every Cell Phone Call you make tracks you, Every time you use your card to fill up for Petrol tracks you, Every SMS to a friend tracks you. Every Play Store App Download Tracks you. every Motorblur Account Tracks you. Every Samsung Smart Hub Log in tracks you. Surprise, even SARS does it WOOOOOOOO! That's life in the connected community

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