Today, security researchers revealed Apple’s iPhone keeps track of users’ locations and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device and onto users’ computers when the two are synced. Unfortunately, we still don't know what triggers this data collection or why Apple is gathering it, nor has anyone found a way to turn it off. Earlier this week, Yahoo announced that is it will significantly extend the amount of time it stores data on what users search for online. This policy is a reversal of a 2008 Yahoo policy that requires deleting such data after 90 days. Starting this summer, Yahoo will retain search logs for 18 months.
The things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. With every click, we entrust our conversations, emails, photos, location information and much more to companies like Apple and Yahoo.
Americans should have control over their own personal information - including who has access to it. Companies shouldn’t be collecting and storing information about individuals without their knowledge. And they should be looking to improve existing privacy protections for users, not reduce those protections by capturing more information and storing it for longer periods of time. The new information about Apple and Yahoo raises serious questions about whether these companies are taking their responsibilities to their users seriously.
It is important to let companies like Apple, Yahoo and others know that as stewards of our digital lives, they are our first line of defense when it comes to keeping private information private.