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Friday, July 11, 2014
China Claims iPhone Threatens Country's Security
Chinese state media on Friday said that Apple's iPhone puts the country's security in risk as it can track and time-stamp user locations.
iPhone's "Frequent Locations" function allows users to be tracked and information about them revealed.
Chinese broadcaster CCTV criticized the feature, and as part of its report, it interviewed a researcher, who said:
"This is extremely sensitive data. If the data were accessed, it could reveal an entire country's economic situation and "even state secrets."
In response, Apple said on its Chinese website that it has never "worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services."
The tracking function is used to speed up applications designed to show iPhone users their own location or assist in driving directions to avoid traffic. It can be turned off, Apple said in its statement. Personal location information is stored only on the phone, protected by a user password, and isn?t available to third parties, the company said.
"We appreciate CCTV?s effort to help educate customers on a topic we think is very important," the company said in the statement, according to an English translation provided by Apple. "We want to make sure all of our customers in China are clear about what we do and we don?t do when it comes to privacy and your personal data."
Apple has been also accused by Chinese state media of providing user data to U.S. intelligence agencies.
Google and Microsoft have also been accused by China in the past. Most recently, Google services had been disrupted in China for over a month, and central government procurement office has banned new government computers from using Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.