Apple posted a statement for Chinese customers on its website as a response to a claim by a state-run network in China that the iPhone is a national security threat.
The statement, entitled "Your Location Privacy" and written in both Chinese and English, explains in detail the "Frequent Locations" feature that has been the subject of controversy.
Last week, state-controlled China Central Television Network claimed that the iPhone feature can compromise the security of the entire country, as the data stored by the feature can potentially lead to the leakage of state secrets.
The "Frequent Locations" feature, found in Apple's latest iOS 7 mobile operating system, is used to speed up the apps for the iPhone which require the user's current location, such as driving apps that help users avoid traffic jams or shopping apps that give directions to the nearest stores and boutiques. The feature uses pre-stored location data for WLAN hotspots and cellular towers, combined with the hotspots and cellular towers that the device is receiving, to calculate the device's location is seconds as compared to the minutes required by GPS satellite data.
Apple responds to the allegations against the feature by first stating the company's deep commitment to the protection of the privacy of its customers. The statement then assures Apple customers that the location data created by the iPhone is encrypted and stored only within the device itself, not shared with Apple or other companies.
Apple then adds that customers have complete control over location data in iOS devices, as Location Services and other related featured are not a default setting. Despite the promised security, if users would still want to stop all forms of location data tracking, then the user can simply turn them off by going to the device's Settings.
Apple adds that the location cache within a user's phone is encrypted, with no other apps able to gain access to it. Users may be able to access the data by entering their passcode, but once the device is locked, the information is secured as well.
Apple concludes by reiterating that that the company has never been in cooperation with any government agency from any country for the creation of backdoor systems in any of Apple's devices or systems. The company has also never opened access to its servers to any other company.
"It's something we feel very strongly about," the statement ends, referring to the company's actions to maintain the highest levels of security and privacy for its customers.