Archive for 2011

Apple, Google will testify to Senate on location tracking

Apple, Google will testify to Senate on location tracking

“I’m pleased that Apple and Google have confirmed that they’ll be sending representatives to testify at my upcoming hearing on mobile technology and privacy,” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said in a statement issued today.

A great opportunity.

Reality Check

Andy Ihnakto on this iPhone “tracking” drama:

A few reality checks, lest I inadvertently do a Glenn Beck number on all of you, here:

  1. This database isn’t storing GPS data. It’s just making a rough location fix based on nearby cell towers. The database can’t reveal where you were…only that you were in a certain vicinity. Sometimes it’s miles and miles off. This implies that the logfile’s purpose is to track the performance of the phone and the network, and not the movements of the user.
  2. A third party couldn’t get access to this file without physical access to your computer or your iPhone. Not unless you’ve jailbroken your iPhone and didn’t bother resetting its remote-access password…or there’s an unpatched exploit that would give Random Person On The Internet root access to your phone.
  3. It’s pretty much a non-issue if you’ve clicked the “Encrypt iPhone Backup” option in iTunes. Even with physical access to your desktop, a no-goodnik wouldn’t be able to access the logfile.

iPhone Stored Location in Test Even if Disabled

iPhone Stored Location in Test Even if Disabled

The location data appear to be collected using cellphone towers and Wi-Fi access points near a user’s phone and don’t appear to be transmitted back to Apple. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Funny how these articles always include iPhone in the headline, despite the fact that other smartphones also behave in the same way. The Wall Street Journal, however, is one of the few sources I’ve read so far that haven’t outrageously sensationalized this issue. I’ve head lead-ins on the evening news asking “Is your iPhone spying on you?” and radio shows reporting that “Apple tracking your every move.”



It’s such a funny thing. Threats–like hurricanes and rectal exams–are only scary until they arrive. Once they’re over, they’re just the basis for funny stories. But, you do nearly always survive them. And, if you didn’t survive? It wasn’t because of a lack of fear. Like I say, the universe doesn’t particularly care whether you’re scared.

If you read one thing this week, hell, one thing this month, make it this.

✁ A Change of Focus

This site has sat stagnant for much of time on the web. When I began this site in early 2010, I lacked a voice, causing this site to sputter along and eventually stall out. Since this time, I’ve given much thought to how I can balance my desire to write and the lack of time posed by my young (and somewhat hectic) legal career. I also searched for how to offer unique and interesting content that others would want to read.

Microblogging services like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr significantly changed the dynamic of web engagement over the last two years, enabling indivduals to participate in an endless supply of conversations  spanning all topics and audiences. I love this social interactivity and it’s provided me with guidance on how I see this space. I’m starting to believe that I’ve traded the detail in the world for a convenience of 140 character headlines. In my quest to learn more about everything, I’ve lost some of my ability to fully develop my beliefs, take the time to question others premises, and savor some of the more important details.

Today is my birthday. It’s a perfect day to start something new. I’ve concluded that I need to update more frequently to regain some of what I fear I’ve begun to lose sight of. Shortly, you’ll notice an update to my this site’s look and feel to more fully capture my goals. I will also be updating more regularly, with more focus. I want RamJaw to be a place where I can contribute to daily conversations. I plan on publishing both short and long form articles; the short to share interesting reads with my audience, perhaps with a sentence or two of my own commentary; the long to fully flesh out an idea previously explored in a snippet or to begin a new discussion.

Thank you for being patient during this time, and I hope you enjoy my change of focus.