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Apple's Steve Jobs Says Software Update Will Curtail Location Collection

Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates the company's FaceTime app in October.
Tony Avelar
Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates the company's FaceTime app in October.

Today, Apple announced that the collection and storage of location data was due to a programming error.

"We don't think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data," the company said in a press release. In next few weeks, it added, Apple will release a new version of its software that keeps only a limited amount of location data, does not write the information to a computer and deletes the information as soon Location Services are turned off.

Apple has been facing controversy after researchers discovered last week that iPhones running the latest version of its operating system kept a detailed log of a user's locationbased on cell tower and WiFi hotspot data. In some cases, the log went back more than a year.

Steve Jobs spoke to All Things D's Mobilized today and said Apple wasn't "tracking anyone."

"The files they found on these phones, as we explained, it turned out were basically files we have built through anonymous, crowdsourced information that we collect from the tens of millions of iPhones out there," Jobs told Mobilized.

Jobs added that tech companies haven't done a good job of educating its users.

"As new technology comes into the society there is a period of adjustment and education," Jobs said. "We haven't – as an industry – done a very good job educating people, I think, as to some of the more subtle things going on here. As such, (people) jumped to a lot of wrong conclusions in the last week."

Jobs said that Apple would testify at the May 10 hearing of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. The hearing is titled, "Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.