Apple is denying China’s claims that the iPhone is a security threat

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No, Apple isn’t using your iPhone to track your location in China. That’s Apple’s response to a recent report from China’s state-run television station alleging the iPhone could potentially threaten the country’s national security. Apple published the lengthy statement on its China website Saturday, one day after Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television reported the iPhone posed a threat to the country’s national security. Specifically, the report called into question Apple’s “frequent locations” feature. The feature, which is built in to iOS 7, keeps tabs on places iPhone owners visit as well as how often they go there “in order to learn places that are significant to you.”

After Chinese state media said earlier this week that Apple’s iPhones were a threat to national security because of their ability to track and time-stamp user locations, the company released a statement on its Chinese website denying that any user data is at risk. “Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy of all our customers,” the company writes. “Privacy is built into our products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.” The Chinese report concerned the iPhone’s “Frequent Locations” feature — which was introduced with iOS 7 and uses location data for both Maps and Weather — and said that sensitive data could reveal the country’s economic situation and “even state secrets.” Apple explained in its message that the location data is stored only on each phone, not on Apple’s servers, and that all of it is encrypted. The company also tries to quash fears that it’s working with the government to spy on iPhone owners. “Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services,” the statement says. “We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.”

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