Apple refutes China TV report about iOS7 'frequent locations' feature

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) refuted a report from China's state broadcaster that described the iPhone as a "national security concern" because of a location-determination feature that it said records the time and location of a user's movements. According to The Wall Street Journal, researchers quoted in China Central Television's report said such data could provide people with knowledge of China's economic situation or "even state secrets."

In a statement, Apple said it neither tracks users nor shares their locations with third parties. It said the "frequent locations" feature included in iOS7 at the device level was created to help users "quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work."

The feature uses pre-stored Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower location data combined with information about which hotspots and cell towers are currently being received by the iPhone. "It's important to point out that during this collection process, an Apple device does not transmit any data that is uniquely associated with the device or the customer," Apple said. It added that iPhone users can enable or disable location services on their device. Further, Apple stressed that it does not have access to frequent locations or the location cache on any customer's iPhone. For more, see this Wall Street Journal article. (sub. req.)