At the Where 2.0 conference it was announced that Apple was secretly collecting the location of every iPhone and weren’t telling users. This led to a Senate hearing of Apple and Google execs who had to explain themselves and answer to why they are collecting the data without the user’s knowledge. Recently, SmrtGuard decided to do some digging around to see if RIM collects this same data for a BlackBerry, and yes they do. The difference is that RIM does it in a very transparent way that users can opt out of, which is exactly how Apple and Google should have done it.
Many of you have noticed this option but in case you haven’t, go to Options > Device > Location Settings and scroll down a little. There, you’ll see the Enable GPS option with a message that says: “Anonymously collects data to improve the speed and accuracy of future location services.” The intent is pretty clear and RIM is building a database of location data in order to be able to improve their software. RIM is explicit that the data is anonymous and give the user the ability to disable. Again, if Apple and Google had been this open about their location data collection, it probably wouldn’t have turned into such a debacle.
Read more over at SmrtGuard’s Resource Center where they’ll have regular content in the mobile security space.