Once every year, Americans celebrate the release of the latest iPhone, which is of course, made by Apple. Every time a new Apple device is introduced to the market, there is a major software update that impacts all devices, old and new. This update, called iOS, can improve camera function, change the color scheme and layout of the phone, and even improves the ease with which the iPhone user views maps. The latest operating system, iOS 8, may even have added some controversial “improvements” that are intended to gather personal information about Apple’s customers.
These disturbing rumors were recently brought to the attention of the Wyoming Institute of Technology. Several of our own scientists purchased the phone when it was released and volunteered to take a closer look. What they found was not only surprising, but quite disturbing.
iSpy, a recent camera update, gives outside parties the ability to activate and use any iPhone camera remotely from a personal computer. Some of the images gathered using this method are of an incredibly personal nature. This feature, although accessible to the public, is generally used only by the experts working for Apple. When asked about the iSpy update, Apple refused to comment.
The iSpy update isn’t the only suspicious addition to iOS 8. The new health and fitness applications seem like very harmless and useful tools, however they are not exactly what they seem. The data collected by these applications can be shared with doctors or personal trainers, which you’d think was a very convenient feature; but that leads us to wonder who else has access to our personal information.
These fitness applications gather information about our diet, weight, height, and exercise routines. More surprisingly, without the knowledge of the consumer, these applications store and share eye color, race, the frequency of a person’s bowl movements, and even the iPhone user’s sexual habits. No one is certain as to the reason this personal data is being collected, and, when asked, Apple again refuses to comment.
As if this wasn’t frightening enough, the iOS software is collecting fingerprints and sending these digital images, captured when a person unlocks their phone, to the United States Government, where it is stored in the IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System). It is thought that the FBI pays, and pays quite well, for this information by using American taxpayer dollars. Neither the FBI nor Apple will openly admit to these allegations, but to some, the evidence is perfectly clear.
This information is certainly disconcerting to any iPhone users and, to most, probably comes as quite a shock. Many of these personal data collection updates are mentioned in page 463 of the Apple device user agreement contract. The scientists at WIT suggest that you protect yourself by refusing to accept the grossly unfair terms and conditions this company is attempting to force upon you. If you’ve already done so, have a tech savvy friend jailbreak your device for a free and satisfyingly private iPhone experience.