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    Privacy and Apple’s Latest Mobile Operating System, iOS 8

    Apple has released its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8. There are a variety of privacy-related features and changes. However, users must also be careful to check their privacy settings. For example, be sure to check the Frequent Locations setting. If you had it turned off, it will turn itself back on when you upgrade to iOS 8. There is also the possibility that Location Tracking services were turned on automatically for some apps, as well.

    One big privacy and security change has to do with the company’s ability to unlock data for law enforcement officials who have a valid search warrant. The Washington Post reports: “The move, announced with the publication of a new privacy policy tied to the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, amounts to an engineering solution to a legal quandary: Rather than comply with binding court orders, Apple has reworked its latest encryption in a way that prevents the company — or anyone but the device’s owner — from gaining access to the vast troves of user data typically stored on smartphones or tablet computers.”

    The New York Times notes that Apple will still be able to give police access to data stored in its cloud-computing service, iCloud.  (“Cloud computing” is where you upload, store and access your data at an online service owned or operated by others. Microsoft, Google, and many others offer these services.) “The new security in iOS 8 protects information stored on the device itself, but not data stored on Apple’s cloud service. So Apple will still be able to hand over some customer information stored on iCloud in response to government requests,” the Times reports.

    Apple recently faced increased scrutiny after the recent hacks of celebrities’ iCloud-based accounts, hacks that led to the unauthorized publication of nude photographs of the celebrities. (Read a previous post for more on privacy and security questions surrounding cloud computing services.) The company’s new products and services, including a smart watch and electronic payment system, have also raised privacy questions.

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