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Apple has found a new way to get people to agree to online tracking: withhold applications from them if they don't. This week Apple is launching a new iPhone. And with that comes a new operating system and the company's new advertising platform.

According to Apple's new privacy policy, users can opt out if they don't want to be served targeted ads. But if they don't want to share their location information with the company, they also won't have access to new apps from the iTunes store.

The launch of Apple's iAd advertising system this week comes with some new terms and conditions. Apple will be serving targeted advertising. Users can opt out of receiving such ads, but it won't be particularly easy. And the company thinks it would be cooler if people didn't opt out. According to the new T&Cs:

"Apple and its partners use cookies and other technologies in mobile advertising services to control the number of times you see a given ad, deliver ads that relate to your interests, and measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns. If you do not want to receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you can opt out by accessing the following link on your device: http://oo.apple.com. If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests."

Apple customers who want to opt out of tracking have to use the above URL from an Apple device running iOS 4 to do so. And each of their devices using that operating system must be logged out individually.

In addition, Apple is collecting "precise," "real-time geographic location" of its customers who use its new iOS software that runs on the new iPhone.

Apple's wording assures customers that location data is “collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you.” But it also doesn't give people a choice to opt out of location tracking. Users have to agree to the new terms and conditions before downloading new apps or any other data from the iTunes store.

Meanwhile, the new T&Cs are light on details regarding what will happen with this location information. The company's privacy policy 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. 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. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.

Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work."

Obviously, applications that rely on location will be among the “partners and licensees” who will access location data. But it would be nice to have details on what location-based services other than Find My iPhone will utilize the data. Apple also insists that the data will be anonymous, but they are not divulging how long the data will be kept, which could irk privacy advocates.

Meghan Keane

Published 22 June, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

Comments (41)

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Bragga

Apple...... Will it blend...

about 6 years ago

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wowow

Catch-22....

about 6 years ago

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Griff

These ads can be ignored just as easily as the ones currently being served up. Sorry advertisers, I'm so numb to your crap that I know I see ads, but I couldn't tell you what any of them were.

about 6 years ago

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Bob Foster

The assertion in your headline and first paragraph isn't supported by anything you quote further in the story. I'm inclined to think you're just confused.

about 6 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

Hi Bob, If iPhone users don't accept the new terms of service (which include location tracking), they won't be able to download new apps and music from the iTunes store. What's confused?

about 6 years ago

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macpaul

That's certainly jumping to conclusions. There is no evidence to suggest anything of the sort.

about 6 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

No, it's not. Perhaps Apple will change its policy. But if you object to the iPhone tracking your location with the new operating system, you won't be able to download new apps from the store to your phone.

about 6 years ago

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Toadkick

Sensationalist bullshit. I see no evidence in your article whatsoever that I won't be able to download apps if I don't opt into their location tracking. Please show, where in Apple's agreement is this stated?

about 6 years ago

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Toadkick

Addendum: Yes, you do have to agree to their terms and conditions before accessing the app store. This is true of *every* update to their terms and conditions, not just this particular one. Note that this is *not* the same as opting out of their location-aware services. You can still opt out, and continue to download apps at your leisure. Please do a little more research instead of just posting blatant lies.

about 6 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

Toadkick. You are wrong. You can opt out of ad tracking, which I noted. The location update does not offer an opt out option at this time because it is part of the new T&Cs. Once you agree to the new T&Cs your location is being tracked.

about 6 years ago

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Toadkick

No, Meghan Keane, you are wrong. First, there were apps that tracked your location long before iOS 4 was released. Anytime an app wishes to use your location, there is a popup that explicitly asks your permission to allow that app to use your location, and that is still the case. Second, there is an option in the Settings that allows you to turn off location tracking across the board, or for specific apps. Please do your research.

about 6 years ago

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Toadkick

And once more, accepting the terms and conditions does not mean you are opting in to having your location tracked. If you do not accept the terms and conditions (which do not even show up until your first attempt to download an app after updating to iOS 4), your location can still be tracked. There is not some magical switch in accepting the TOS that instantly causes your location to start being tracked...

about 6 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

Toadkick, Apple apps have been location aware before, yes. But now the iPhone will be able to collect and store "real-time geographic location," as you can see from the quote I included above. Since you're not going to listen to me, here are some other articles on the subject: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=130692 http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20100621/apple-heres-how-to-opt-out-of-our-targeted-ads-but-not-our-location-tracking/

about 6 years ago

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toadkick

I am listening to you, and my response is that you are wrong. If I turn off location tracking, how can there be any data obtained from tracking my location? Since you will not listen to me, I would like to direct you to DaringFireball.net, where John has a post titled "Creepy?" To make it easy, I will quote him here: "Location data on iOS is always explicitly opt-in. You, the user, must grant applications explicit permission to access location data — including Apple’s own system apps. This policy spells out what happens when you do grant this permission. Whenever location data is being accessed, you get an indicator in the status bar. And in Settings → General → Location Services you get a listing of every app with location privileges, the ability to turn it off, and an indicator for each app that has accessed your location within the last 24 hours." Now, I understand if you take issue with Apple using your location for whatever it is they decide they want to use it for, but my initial point still stands: you can choose to disallow location tracking, and you may still download apps from the app store if you wish.

about 6 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

And if you don't turn location tracking off? Lets say you want to share your location with a certain 3rd party app or use maps. Apple can now track and store your location information for marketing and advertising purposes. And it's unclear how long they're keeping that info. As their privacy policy states: "We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising." Will they anything nefarious with this? I don't know. But it's vague. And people are concerned. I think that's fair. Ok. Enough of this thread. I have work to do.

about 6 years ago

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Toadkick

I'll agree that it is vague, and I'll agree that it is fair for people to be concerned. However, your article is not entitled "Apple's new TOS is vague and has people concerned", it's "Apple closes the iTunes store for iPhone users who don't want to share their location", which is an out-and-out fabrication, and irresponsible journalism to boot.

about 6 years ago

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Lollerskates

Where does it say in the T&C that "if they don't want to share their location information with the company, they also won't have access to new apps from the iTunes store." I can't find anything in the article that indicates users who turn off location sharing can't access the store (except for in the title, of course).

about 6 years ago

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David Bishop

I have to agree with Toadkick.  It seems as Apple has grown and is now the #1 tech company, every manner of conspiracy is out there.  Everyone thinks Apple is out to get you and do something evil to you that no one has figured out what it is, but everyone knows is completely horrible.

Perhaps they are doing this requirement because they are trying to help their developers who use iAd and the companies that advertise on iAd get better results and make more money.  Perhaps they allow location data in apps so that customers will get a better experience with things like geotagging, maps, and mileage trackers for exercise.

Maybe there is no conspiracy.  Maybe Apple is just trying to alert it's customer base to what they can expect when they use these services.  Maybe, just maybe, they are only being responsible.

about 6 years ago

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MrOtsKrad

Question everything esp from a privacy standpoint.  Journalists have been embellishing headlines for how long now?  Its to grab attention where they think it should be. Apple does not say "if you dont accecpt our T&C you cannot access the store.  Oh and once you do, we can track you." However, thats whats happening.  And so far, you can only opt out of application based location tracking, not the phone itself.

Im sure this will be fixed/changed, but in this case its a healthy practice to call it out so people are aware, cause its not obvious.  

about 6 years ago

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Toadkick

@MrOtsKrad: Embellishment is one thing, outright lying is another. And I don't necessarily agree with your assertion that the "embellishment" is to "grab attention where they think it should be". The purpose of the embellishment is to generate page views, plain and simple. If it weren't, a more accurate/truthful headline would have been chosen. And, to my knowledge, there has been no such indication that the phone itself is constantly being tracked when not using apps, and any such claim at this point would be purely assumption. And, once again, the tracking occurs whether you accept the T&C or not.

about 6 years ago

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Sluggy

Toadkick: You can choose to stop application developers from storing your location and still use the AppStore. This we know. But you can't stop *APPLE* from storing your location and still use the AppStore. This is what the article says. The phone itself gives Apple your location, independently from any applications that are installed. You're the one that's confused.

about 6 years ago

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Toadkick

Geez, I give up. Believe what you want, in spite of the facts. I don't care.

about 6 years ago

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Jay

Another reason to jailbreak your devices, folks.

about 6 years ago

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Peter

2010. Big Apple's Ministry of Truth is watching you and will punish you if you dislike. "freedom is slavery" #orwell #locationsharing #iAD

about 6 years ago

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Random Commenter

Sensationalist nonsense indeed. What a weird way to misrepresent the situation. No wonder this is the first time this site made it to news aggregators. Anything to gain some ad views, eh?

about 6 years ago

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FS

Meghan Keane, can you not be so dramatic, arrogant, and emotional with every post you write? This article (should I even call it that?) was a joke. The title had nothing to do with the content at all. This kind of nonsense reporting is frustrating, and the way you're responding to everyone like you're the most knowledgeable person on the planet is infuriating. You're here to inform, Meghan Keane, not belittle those who have absolutely no idea as to the reason for this article, its point, or why the title is so off vs. the rest of the words thrown together on the page. Meghan Keane, leave the drama off the web site you write content for. We wants facts, not feelings, and no drama or sensationalism. Best of luck next time.

about 6 years ago

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Petter Jensen

This is just ridiculous! Completely unfounded sensationalism. It's ok to be concerned, but this kind of wishwash does nothing good to either side - except for the stupid journalists ego and publications ad revenue.

No respect!

about 6 years ago

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Caab Living

As long as the location info is safe, it should be a good thing. If I have to see advertising, then better that it is relevant to me or my position.

about 6 years ago

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dmack

Please don't flame me too, just READ the TOS.

Remember RIF: Reading is Fundamental

OK, I am a LONG time Apple user and applaud them for the strides they have made over recent years, but this new TOS has me a bit worried.  Unlike some of you, I found this article because I read the TOS and wanted to see what others were saying about it.

If you read through it, especially the privacy section (which Apple alerts you that there are 'material changes' to) it is quite clear as to what is going one.  Yes, it might be adjusted, but i may not.  I am strongly leaning towards not agreeing to these new terms.  

Now, where was that jail-break site?

about 6 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

Apple have lost their minds. Now that they are number one, they are behaving as badly as Microsoft did in their heyday.

TOS like this make me very glad I don't have an iPhone or an iPad (despite a dozen years changing my Apple computer every year).

about 6 years ago

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Robert Clark

So, if I read this right, you can choose not to accept the TOS. If you decide to not accept the TOS, you cannot gain access to the app store, isn't this correct?

If the previous statement is correct, then the assertion that not allowing app specific location tracking (part of the TOS), refusing the TOS will then deny you access to any new apps in the app store, yes?

Thus, you cannot access new apps (or any apps).

I have not checked my assertions, because I don't own an iphone.

I am asking - I just want to say that BEFORE I get flamed.

about 6 years ago

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Andrew

If you do not accept the new TOS, then you cannot download new applications from the app-store. So in effect, you are locked out, even though you bought an iPhone in good faith. Wow, imagine Microsoft saying you cannot get a new service pack unless you let us know all your personal information.

Seems like a kick in the teeth and the 101 page TOS document is a joke for anyone using a mobile device.

Sensationalist or not... with the locking out of third party development software, the locking out of private ad systems so apple can use their own and now this! a big player is behaving as bad as the rest.

about 6 years ago

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Bangalow Accommodation

Very Wrong of Apple to do this. Blackballing people to disclose their location. Brings a new meaning to the term "snookered".

about 6 years ago

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Cheap SSL

I must be illiterate. Where is it stated explicitly that you will be banned from the AppStore if you opt-out of location-based services?

about 6 years ago

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Ervin

Good headline. I haven't accepted the new terms because of the clause relating to collecting and sharing real time locations ofmy phone. As a result I cannot download apps.

about 6 years ago

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Chris

Perhaps this link will help people decide http://www.scribd.com/doc/34546602/apple-response-to-markey-barton It is a detailed response to Apple re questions from a US politician re location issues.

almost 6 years ago

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DrDweeb

Page 4 of the above link pretty clearly indicates that the premise of this article is correct, so makes toadkisk an uninformed moron

I also found this article because I was bored and scanned the

100+ page TOS and was suitably appalled, and went looking for information.

Dweb

almost 6 years ago

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Ced

Megan PWND!

Love it!

almost 6 years ago

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AppleIsEvil

In reply to: "Apple also insists that the data will be anonymous, but they are not divulging how long the data will be kept, which could irk privacy advocates." See link - apparently the data is kept for ever

over 5 years ago

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Cheap SSL

I think that's good as per security purposes also.So that it can't be misused by people.

about 5 years ago

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Sue

I am concerned about the part that talks about them charging you for trial offers of apps they think you will like. I love my iPhone, but if it becomes a constant source of unsolicited advertisements I will go back to a droid.

over 4 years ago

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