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China thinks the iPhone's tracking features are a risk to national security (update: Apple responds)


If there's one thing that China has enjoyed doing this year, it's taking pot-shots at the US as a result of the Snowden revelations. After banning Windows 8, allegedly pushing banks to ditch IBM hardware and calling for severe punishments on Apple and Google, the government is now gunning for the iPhone. Buried deep in iOS 7 is a Google Now-esque location tracking feature that can offer recommendations and improve the mapping experience. China, via its state television mouthpiece, believes that the system's logs could be used by nefarious researchers to extract state secrets. Of course, as the company points out, the data is only uploaded to Apple's servers with your explicit consent, and can be turned off -- but then again, perhaps this latest bout of saber rattling is destined to direct attention away from China's own espionage record.

Update: Not surprisingly, Apple has been quick to deny the allegations. It insists that it doesn't track users' positions, hand location info over to governments or even turn on the related services by default. Also, the Cupertino crew notes that it's easy to disable or limit location features if users are really, truly worried.

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