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Minister demands Apple transparency

DDP/The Local · 26 Jun 2010, 11:23

Published: 26 Jun 2010 11:23 GMT+02:00

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According to a report in news magazine Der Spiegel, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger says Apple should "immediately make clear" what it is doing with the private information of the millions of customers it has in Germany.

"The users of iPhones and other GPS devices should know what information is being collected about them," the minister said. She said it would be unacceptable if Apple were to create personality or location profiles of its users.

The minister's criticism is directed at the newly-formulated privacy policy, which Apple released at the beginning of last week. It now states, "To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device."

But the policy also adds, "This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services."

Till Steffen, justice senator of Hamburg, condemned Apple's re-formulation as unclear, saying, "Data protection laws are lagging behind internet technologies."

Thomas Hoeren, judge and professor of information, telecommunications and media law at the University of Münster, believes that the new privacy policy gives Apple the right to collect and save massive amounts of personal data.

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"Apple does not make clear what data it is actually saving," he told the magazine. "The user does not know what can be kept, for how long, and in connection with what other information it is to be stored. And it does not say how the user can raise an objection either."

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:17 June 26, 2010 by pepsionice
And to be honest...shouldn't we also expect the German government to be clear and honest over what personal data they've collected over citizens as well....and how long they will keep that data?

I went on vacation about eight years ago (going back from Germany to Arizona for two weeks). As I walked through the Frankfurt airport on re-entry....and got to the customs point to check my passport....the German entry guy looked at my passport, ran it over the scanner, and then asked how I liked Phoenix. I was kinda surprised that the passport guy could see my travel agenda and I wondered how long the data would be sitting there in the German database.
14:47 June 26, 2010 by Kayak
Beware the butcher and the baker too!

They know what you do, how many you feed and the secret plans you have to break the normal cooking routine.

Watch out! Beware!

15:27 June 26, 2010 by wenddiver
Ever notice how much the Borg's space ship looked like an Apple Product? Apple is conquering the Universe.

Resistance is futile. Assimulate or be destroyed.
09:24 June 27, 2010 by ColoSlim
Concerned citizens have the right NOT to buy and use an iPhone. Laws to protect people from Apple really? I would be more concerned about governments that install internet filters, firewalls, and monitoring devices to control something that does not belong to them.
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