iPhone software tracks location of users

Apple’s iPhone software is storing a record of the travels of iPhone owners on their phones and on the computers used for iPhone synchronization, a practice that has renewed privacy concerns about mobile location tracking, InformationWeek reports. The data, consisting of latitude and longitude coordinates and corresponding timestamps, is stored unencrypted and, apparently, without conspicuous notification. Apple did not respond to a request to explain whether any of its user agreements cover this practice…

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Google ‘mortified’ over Wi-Fi data gathering

Google on Friday confirmed that its Street View cars had inadvertently captured e-mail messages and passwords during their image gathering missions, the result of WiFi sniffing software that was included in Street View cars without authorization, reports InformationWeek. The acknowledgment comes after data protection authorities in Canada and Spain said as much following the conclusion of investigations into Google’s WiFi data gathering in those countries. Google VP of engineering and research Alan Eustace, who first disclosed the company’s WiFi data gathering in May, apologized again and promised changes to prevent similar incidents in the future…

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Three-fourths of professionals believe the internet makes us smarter

A survey of web users and professionals found that a majority of them believe the internet is making us smarter, InformationWeek reports—although some critics believe internet use is zapping our critical thinking skills. The web-based survey of nearly 900 prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers, and technology developers found that three out of four believe the internet “enhances and augments” human intelligence. In addition, two-thirds of the respondents said the internet also improves reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge. The survey was conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University in North Carolina and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The poll was motivated by tech scholar and analyst Nicholas Carr’s 2009 Atlantic Monthly magazine cover story, entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” In a response to the survey, Carr stuck by his original argument that the internet shifts the emphasis of people’s intelligence away from meditative or contemplative intelligence and more toward what he called “utilitarian intelligence.” “The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking,” said Carr, who participated in the survey. Other participants disagreed, such as Craig Newmark, founder of Craigs’s List, who said people use Google as an adjunct to their own memory. Respondent David Ellis, a professor at York University in Toronto, said that instead of making people stupid, Google was reinforcing intellectual laziness among people satisfied with the top 10 or 15 listings from search queries…

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