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Apple says they’re not intentionally keeping track of where you are through your iPhone.

The tech giant has taken a bruising from lawmakers concerned about privacy issues and has acknowledged that the iPhone does gather – and compile for months – location-related info. The phones use local WiFi networks, cell towers and a global positioning system. Apple’s Steve Jobs says they’ll incorporate the necessary fixes with the next issue of software, which will store the info for only seven days instead. He allowed that though Apple had erred in its handling of location data, it did not use the iPhone and iPad to monitor customers’ locations.

Apple has suffered some bad publicity over this as well as criticism for its lengthy lag time in handling the problem. Should we expect that one bad apple could spoil the whole bunch? Probably not.

Meanwhile, Verizon, which also stores location and other customer information for seven years, will soon place removable location-tracking warning stickers on its mobile devices. How long do AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint keep your compiled location details?

With more smart phones sold last quarter than any other type of mobile phone, accounting for more than half of total cell phone sales and worldwide growth of 20 percent, the data collection and retention issue illustrates the dilemma of rapidly evolving technology vs. personal privacy and modern convenience.

Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology‘s Project on Consumer Privacy writes, “Apple made some mistakes in creating the location file, and in failing to give users notice and choice about the storing of their data, but by continuing to focus on the Apple file, we are losing sight of much larger, and more worrisome, problems.”

He continues, “The iPhone controversy should instead awaken us to its broader implications: Web and mobile communications that are “location enabled” can result in the transmission of location data not only to Apple (and to Google for Android users) but also to your cell phone service provider, to applications loaded on your phone, to websites you browse to and to other people.

“In this complex environment, we simply do not have a comprehensive legal framework in place to address either commercial reuse and redistribution or governmental access to this data,” he concludes.

Security issues abound as illustrated by recent examples:

Not all doom and gloom

Technology serves useful and life-enhancing purposes as well. To wit:

And perhaps best of all …

This week an Alabama woman set up a Facebook page to help victims recover lost items in the aftermath of horrific tornadoes that devastated the South. Patty Bullion of Lester, Ala., created a social networking page with photos of thousands of items recovered hundreds of miles away from the storms. The hope is these items will be seen by survivors who can then retrieve their possessions, photos, important documents and each other.

Thousands of heartwarming comments at Pictures and Documents Found After the April 27, 2011, Tornadoes also include well-wishes, prayers, messages to loved ones and the occasional acerbic comment such as this one: “Dear Mr. President, I am writing to say that I am sorry. I am sorry that tornado ripped through our little state. It must have been an awful big inconvenience for you to have to come all the way to little old Alabama.”

The royal wedding makes Internet history

Were you among the 23 million Americans glued to the television for the royal nuptials? When Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married in 1981 we watched it on the tube, limited to what the mainstream media covered. But now, the Internet has made their son’s wedding available on a very personal level. In fact, the Internet gave even better coverage than TV.

There were record numbers watching the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton as it was video-streamed live online.

Global Internet traffic on news-focused websites peaked at 5.3 million page views per minute at about 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday, according to Akamai, an Internet service provider and traffic monitor.

The wedding was reported to be the sixth biggest event in Internet history.

“I can tell you the World Cup (last June) was around 1.6 million concurrent views as well, but the royal wedding has edged that out just a little bit more,” said Jeff Young, spokesman for Akamai, which provides streaming-media services for more than 300 news websites.

At Twitter it was a royal sweep, with a peak of 300 tweets per second, using the Royal Wedding hashtag, according to Twitter activity monitor Tweetminster.

The 10 top trending terms worldwide were all related to the marriage of Kate and Prince William: RoyalWedding; rw11; proudtobebritish; Pippa (sister of the bride); Buckingham Palace; Sarah Burton (designer of Kate’s dress); Westminster Abbey. Even ABC News jumped into the Twitterverse.

Creative photoshoppers had fun with little flower girl Grace Van Cutsem, who appeared bored and annoyed with the whole affair. Dubbed “The Frowning Flower Girl,” her image was photoshopped into unrelated scenarios.

Facebook was the meeting place for millions of royal wedding watchers with a reported 684,399 wedding status updates posted in the U.K. within a four-hour span, a rate of about 47 mentions per second.

Even Princess Beatrice’s outlandish hat, described by one FB commenter as “a rare breed of antelope”, merited a Facebook page of its own. We suspect the hat was designed to honor Kate Middleton’s new coat of arms.

Obama admin, SF Chronicle in dust-up over pool reporter’s protest video

San Francisco Chronicle and Hearst reporters say the White House is lying. The White House says “not so.” SF Chron retorts, “Yes, you are.” The White House denies it. Back and forth it goes over the issue of whether a print reporter violated decades-old rules governing White House event coverage by videotaping a protest using her mobile device. What makes this delicious little flap even more so is the fact that the San Francisco Chronicle, known for its sympathetic coverage of all things Obama, is accusing him of using a double-standard.

“The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights,” wrote editorialist Phil Bronstein, who ended his piece with this slap: “Barack Obama sold himself successfully as a fresh wind for the 21st century. In important matters of communication, technology, openness and the press, it’s not too late for him to demonstrate that.”

Ouch. Stay tuned for more on this developing contretemps. Like the U.S. Constitution, Obama embraces the Internet when it suits him.

Cutting Trump

So what’s going on with Groupon and “The Donald”? Nothing good. And that’s gotta hurt.

However, Facebook sees and seizes an opportunity there and in other cities too. And it’s not the only thing Facebook is planning. Meantime, despite growth, why are worried Facebook shareholders offloading stock on secondary markets? The free market at work.

The future of online advertising: Integration

The worst? Pop up ads that fill the page screen you’ve just landed on, requiring you to first find, then click the X to rid yourself of the nuisance. Next most annoying? The video ads that commence on their own without warning, without your permission or audio volume control option (like “off”!).

Advertisers are trying to figure out how to make their global advertising market estimated at around $475 billion a year in online ads work better at capturing your attention. Hopefully the advertising brains will come up with something that integrates seamlessly without jumping out at us.

The time capsule

1932 – Al Capone enters Atlanta prison, later Alcatraz

1945 – Germany signs surrender, VE Day declared

1954 – Bannister becomes the 3 min 59.4 sec man

1961 – Alan Shepard first American in space

1978 – “Son of Sam” pleads guilty

1984 – USSR announces boycott of Los Angeles Olympics

1994 – Chunnel opens for business

Now playing at the Princess Theater in Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Russell Dobbyn of Gulfport, Miss., and Karl Randolph (location unknown), among the first to correctly guess actor Hal Holbrook who portrayed “Deep Throat” in the film “All the President’s Men.” Directed by Alan Pakula, the four-time Oscar winning movie depicts the true story of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who uncovered the details of the Watergate scandal that lead to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation.

Deep Throat was later revealed to be W. Mark Felt.

The quote was: “In a conspiracy like this, you build from the outer edges and go step by step.”

This week’s quote: “If I see one more of these Turk messages that is bigger than a postage stamp, you are going to spend the rest of your career – I swear before God – pounding the beat in the South Bronx! Is that clear, Ryan?”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the email address below. Good luck!

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