iPhone map failures, creepy data reveals, Internet Explorer warnings

Monday, 24 September, 2012

Welcome once again to the week in IT, where we take a look at the more curious stories in IT from the last seven days.

Things have not gone Apple’s way in recent weeks. On top of poor reactions to the iPhone 5 launch last week, the company is now dealing with a multitude of complaints about Apple Maps, its own map app that appeared in iOS 6, the latest version of the phone/tablet OS.

Prior to version 6, iOS offered a maps application that was powered by map data from Google. The new app uses data from other sources.

While the app itself carries the usual Apple sheen, it’s quickly become infamous for its relative slowness, incorrect directions, and at times hilariously poor geographical information.

Some of our favourites include a highway that runs through an ocean, an unannounced expansion to Bondi Beach and a melted Brooklyn Bridge.

(Many more mapping mishaps are available at The Amazing iOS 6 Maps tumblr.)

Give you the creeps

This last week gave us some lovely examples of creepy data divulgences, starting with one from Victoria. A woman who bought a hard drive from Harvey Norman was rather surprised when her brand new device came pre-filled with 131,000 photos of strangers, including snaps of a naked woman on a bed and images from a child’s birthday party.

The unsuspecting customer and the retail giant have yet to agree on a theory for how the pictures appeared on the device.

In unrelated Victorian creepiness, the state’s Transport Ticketing Authority is handing over data on users of the Victorian transport smartcard, myki, to the police.

While we’re not suggesting that the Victorian police are out to get you, the idea that anyone could take a look at your entire travel history given “reasonable” cause is a sobering thought.

Twitter remained in headlines this week, with the news that the company will give Australian authorities the account names and IP addresses of users “suspected” of posting harmful tweets.

Big Brother indeed.

Internet Explorer woes

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has long been a target for cybercrims, so last week’s news of a zero-day vulnerability in the web browser wasn’t really anything new at all.

What was notable, however, was the German government’s plea to its citizens that they refrain from using the ailing web browser. IT departments have been known to ban Internet Explorer, but a government calling on its citizens to keep well away? That’s new.

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