So, Apple Is Not Spying On iPhone Users After All - InformationWeek

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Commentary
11/20/2007
04:20 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
Commentary
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So, Apple Is Not Spying On iPhone Users After All

Yesterday the blogosphere erupted when evidence surfaced that Apple was potentially spying on iPhone users. Now other bloggers are claiming that Apple is not spying on its users. So which is it?

Yesterday the blogosphere erupted when evidence surfaced that Apple was potentially spying on iPhone users. Now other bloggers are claiming that Apple is not spying on its users. So which is it?According to German site Heise Online, the user IMEI isn't being transmitted. Here is a look at the issue:

While the code says "IMEI," which stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity, it seems that the actual IMEI is not transmitted. Using a sniffer, Heise says they were able to get the information that the applications are actually sending. The strings aren't the same as the test iPhone's IMEI and, in fact, each application sends its own unique code.

According to further testing by Rene at blog docpool, these IDs are identical in all iPhones he has tried. The most plausible explanation: the codes could be just application identifiers. Rumor smashed. Mystery solved. Time to get a bourbon at Big Joe's.

So it seems as if the IDs are all the same, so the iPhone isn't really transmitting IMEIs, it's just labeling some form of code as such. It's still not clear what Apple is doing with this data -- or if this process actually compromises users' privacy. But so far, it looks like it doesn't violate privacy.

I guess that ends that. Or does it? What do you think? Is Apple actually collecting user-specific information from iPhone users? Or is this just all just paranoia?

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