Last week, a state-run Chinese media outlet alleged that the iPhone was one of the “least secure” smartphones that residents of the country could depend on when it came to keeping the location of their movements under wraps.
The iPhone, which contains a manual toggle to choose whether or not a user is “Frequently Located” by the service, has caused the government-run media arm to believe that the suspiciously innocuous setting could potentially give away sensitive secrets, including some that the government would normally keep as tight lipped as they could.
The Chinese have every right in the world to be concerned of course, as Apple continues to stay embroiled in controversy over the company’s many different privacy policies which can be interpreted every which way depending on the country you were asking from.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has fired back in light of these allegations, claiming that of all the smartest of the available phone options, the iPhone (and the company who produces it), offer one of the safest, most secure options that users could hope for in the admittedly shaky space of safety that the mobile space is capable of.
“Our customers want and expect their mobile devices to be able to quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work,” the statement says. “We do this at the device level. Apple does not track users’ locations — Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”
The increasingly prolific head of Apple claims that no location data is gathered from Chinese citizens (as per the government’s request), and that anyone who wants to be tracked by the company’s GPS software must explicitly say so beforehand before any information is pulled off their device.
The Chinese have remained healthily suspicious ever since the NSA was caught red-handed, tapping backdoors into much of the networking equipment manufactured by the hardware giant Huawei in an effort to gather information on Chinese citizens and their counterparts working in every level of the local government.
Apple continues to stand on the side of security despite a nearly constant suspicion to the contrary, reiterating the fact that for all their fallacies and foibles the Frequent Locations feature is an “opt-in” setting, and that anyone who is concerned about their location being broadcasted to the wrong people can simply switch it off in their settings and worry no more.
Cook continued, making it especially clear that his company had never participated in collusion with United States governments, or any other for that matter, in handing over data which might represent a national security threat to any state employees within China or otherwise.
“Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.”