Last Year's Comments From Steve Jobs and Andy Rubin on Privacy


In the wake of a highly-publicized disclosure last week regarding iOS location tracking and discussion of similar activity found on Android-based devices, All Things Digital has gone back and cut together a video clip of comments from Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google mobile boss Andy Rubin on privacy to remind readers what key executives have said about the issue in the recent past. Jobs' interview took place at the D8 Conference last June, while Rubin's took place at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference back in December.

"We take privacy extremely seriously," said Jobs, who addressed the smartphone location data issue in particular. "A lot of people in [Silicon] Valley think we're old-fashioned about this."

Rubin's comments focused on the basic Android operating system, reporting that there is nothing in that code that sends data back to Google. But obviously Google's own services and other extensions built on top of Android could report such information given the touted open source nature of the platform.

Both Jobs and Rubin make some pretty strong privacy-related statements in these videos, so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

We reported yesterday on an apparent email response from Steve Jobs to a user claiming that Apple does not track users, but Apple has yet to issue a more thorough response in the face of increasing questions from users and inquiries from government representatives and agencies in a number of countries.

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114 months ago
I am not excited about this information being stored. However, until there is proof that the data actually gets sent back to Apple, I think Apple gets a temporary pass on this. But they are going to need to prove it in the media.

Using my iPhone and iPad, it is obvious that some information about my location gets stored. I just wish that the cache would be cleaned every few days or something. Heck, if its location can't be stored how am I going to use the find me feature.

Also cell phone data is being used to also give traffic flow data on sites like google maps: http://www.cellint.com/traffic_data/traffic_system.html
Rating: 3 Votes
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114 months ago

Rubin's comments about what Google collects/allows come off surprisingly evasive, and the way he keeps hiding behind "well, it's open source" is an annoying red herring (surprised they didn't call him out for that.)

Jobs' comments are a lot more definite and reassuring but only truthful as long as it's shown that Apple isn't collecting location info from the iPhone database. If Apple is collecting that info then he's full of crap.


Spoken like a true wo/man ^^ :)

I can't wait to see what comes out of this, I'm gonna go get my popcorn and watch things unfold...
Rating: 2 Votes
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114 months ago

Andy Rubin sounds very wishy washy. Steve Jobs is very clear about it.


Rubin was a developer, so he knows there could be a bug somewhere, or leftover debug code like Google had in their collection trucks. Developers always hedge their bets when answering a question like that.
Rating: 2 Votes
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114 months ago
Android Operating System

My problem with the video was not the careful choice of the words "Android Operating System." I have an HTC MyTouch 4g and the first thing it tells me is that I need a Google Account and that it can send "anonymous" information back to Google. Then within each Google Application that you install the permissions of the App say the same thing. So yes, I can opt out of all of those, but to say that the Android Operating System doesn't collect data is cherry picking. The Android OS comes with Google Applications that do collect data.

I have never assumed though that on a GPS enabled smartphone that my location is private (ever watched any TV show and you'll know that), but I believe that in this case, it was on oversight on Apple's part and now it is going to have to pay the price for that oversight. Sad, but true.
Rating: 2 Votes
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114 months ago
Sad thing is either way people have made up their mind about it. If they think Apple is the bad guy here, they won't be dissuaded, if they think Google is saints despite tracking Google searches you do with some 100 cookies they'll believe it. It's sadly like the birthers, as much evidence, bi-partisan at that, comes to light, people will be ignorant because when you try to beat an idiot with logic and reason they'll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.
Rating: 1 Votes
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114 months ago
Hmmm, saying that he doesn't know of any information being collected isn't very convincing. Whereas Jobs' and iOS are very clear cut of their user's privacy.
Rating: 1 Votes
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114 months ago
Andy Rubin sounds very wishy washy. Steve Jobs is very clear about it.
Rating: 1 Votes
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114 months ago
Rubin's comments about what Google collects/allows come off surprisingly evasive, and the way he keeps hiding behind "well, it's open source" is an annoying red herring (surprised they didn't call him out for that.)

Jobs' comments are a lot more definite and reassuring but only truthful as long as it's shown that Apple isn't collecting location info from the iPhone database. If Apple is collecting that info then he's full of crap.
Rating: 0 Votes
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114 months ago

I am not excited about this information being stored. However, until there is proof that the data actually gets sent back to Apple, I think Apple gets a temporary pass on this. But they are going to need to prove it in the media.


This is a good and important distinction, that the iPhone is storing the data but not sending it to anyone.

It brings to mind the question of why does the iPhone hold onto the location data for years? If it's not being sent to anyone else, then it means its collecting it for on-device services. I can't think of anything the iPhone does that requires it to know every location you've ever used it in all the time you've owned it. Hell, the only thing I can think of is that Maps might want to know your last known location so that it knows what to show on start up, in the event of crash or something that requires Maps to start cold.
Rating: 0 Votes
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114 months ago

Andy Rubin sounds very wishy washy. Steve Jobs is very clear about it.


Yeah says a person who doesn't understand how Android's model works, obviously. Do you expect Andy and Google to Audit all gazillion different phones and tablets and cars and refrigerators running Android to guarantee you they don't collect data?

He was as clear as it can get - the source is out there - go check out, what I put out doesn't collect and send any data to Google. He also said he wouldn't agree with anyone doing otherwise - meaning the Google partners are expected to be privacy conscious like Google is. And why not - you think people will not sue the hell out of Samsung/Motorola/Sony if they found their phones violate their privacy?
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