Apple has gotten some heat from politicians and privacy experts when it was revealed that the iPad and iPhone have been tracking users locations. The main reason data is being collected might be to supply relevant ads via Apple’s iAd application.

“Information is transmitted securely to the Apple iAd server via a cellular network connection or Wi-Fi Internet connection,” wrote Apple to U.S. Rep. Edward Marke. “The latitude/longitude coordinates are converted immediately by the server to a five-digit ZIP code. Apple then uses the ZIP code to select a relevant ad for the customer.

Google Android phones are also said to collect location data, which might also be shared with their mobile-advertising provider AdMob. According to Iain Gillott, president of wireless industry analysis firm iGR, this practice is neither new nor insidious.

“I don’t think there’s anything too sinister going on,” said Gillott. “The iPhone forever and a day has tracked location and stored it on the phone. It puts it in a locked file that’s buried within the operating system. That s not new. It’s done that for years.

The likely goal of all this from Google and Apple is to breach the $2.9 billion location-based services market, expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014. Combining location with customer data could help them create a dedicated profile for their users.

“Just because you know I’m in Austin doesn’t tell you anything about me,” Gilliott said. But pull all the other activity and everything else I do and you can build a really good profile of me. Location is an enabler. It makes information about you hugely more useful.

Source: Fox News