ANTH 1001 Chapter Notes -Ios 4, Ed Markey
My working title for this paper is “Tracking Technology in Mobile Devices” – examining the
case of Vikram Ajjampur v. Apple Inc.
Tracking technology is not just limited to mobile devices, Facebook, Google Maps and
Foursquare, just to name a few all have tracking apps/features that can allow users to pinpoint
their exact location when they are logged on, however, this paper will be focusing specifically on
Apple products. Is the recording and collection of data from Apple devices such as the iPhone
and iPad being done intentionally? This paper will be examining the case of Ajjampur v. Apple
Inc. to illustrate the ways in which Apple has been breaching the privacy of its users intentionally
and what the company has done since this case to remedy the situation. Consumers are not being
made aware of this technology being embedded into their device. Many users do not know how
much of their day is being tracked by an unknown source. (you have no way of knowing who is
accessing your location data and other data). Approx 59 million people use an iphone. Of those,
many are operating on an iOS4 operating system. It is difficult to determine how many of those
millions of users are aware that they are being tracked. That is the main issue with the tracking
technology, people are not being informed properly. “In response to public concern over the
collection of location data, Apple released a software update for mobile devices available
through iTunes. The update will limit the storage of location data to one week, stop the transfer
of location data when the device is synched and erase all location data from a device if a user
turns off “Location Services”.
In this case, the plaintiffs claimed that Apple iPhones operating on iOS4 software and 3G iPads
were secretly recording all its owners movements and that the datawould be transferred onto
whatever device you would synch your phone or iPad to, wherever you go. The information that
is recorded is unencrypted, making it easy for third parties to access it later. “Users have no way
to prevent Apple from collecting this information because even if users disable the iPhone and
iPad GPS components, Apple’s tracking system remains fully functional”(Ajjampur).
There is widespread public concern about tracking technology since it is becoming easier to
create and distribute through mobile devices. Mobile devices track more than just where you go.
They also record patterns and habits that you have like when you wake up in the morning, if you
go to the gym regularly and what sorts of musical interests you have based upon your library of
songs. This information is shared with third parties that can make the user vunerable to stalkers,
telemarketers and law enforcement agencies. Which was the concern that Ed Markey, a
representative from Massachsetts had regarding the tracking technology stating that “cell phone
carriers in the U.S. responded to 1.3 million demands for their subscriber information last year
from supposed law enforcement agencies” That figure is not even compeletely accurate as
wireless carriers like T-Mobile were not exact with their numbers projecting that more users had
probably been at risk. As a result of the backlash of tracking technology, American law is now
trying to place limits on how and the degree to which Americans can be tracked, followed and
Following Bijker, Winner and Hecht: can technological devices be intentionally designed to have
political purposes? This paper will argue that they can.
What I still need to figure out:
How many more cases like this are there?
Is Apple Inc. profiting off of the use of our information by third parties?
Is the information really being encrypted now? Is there a way to find out how much personal
information has already been leaked?