Apple iPhone tracking: Should you care?

So have we learnt much from all this? Not really. Despite some initial shock at the findings, it became clear this was just another case in point that people's data is being increasingly used by companies of all kinds.

Often the information is being accessed with users' consent - or at least they do not protest initially, perhaps because they're simply unaware.

This recent case reinforces some key points. Firstly, if consumers and businesses do care about their privacy, they need to check terms and conditions before signing up to services. They should also ensure they opt in or out of any potentially problematic services if they can.

While that may sound like stating the obvious, these are points worth reiterating to users and key stakeholders involved in contract negotiation.

As for the big three Apple, Google and Microsoft they would do well to appear more concerned about end user privacy. Active discussions need to be held around the latest technologies so everyone understands the implications, especially if they could end up harming individuals.

"They have to be very careful with the clarity in how they respond," said Andy Hellett, an analyst at Ovum, talking about Apple in particular.

It would also be a rather bold and indeed admirable move to make terms and conditions clearer, so users don't feel tricked when stories like this emerge.

"The emphasis should be on the suppliers of the services to make this very, very clear," Hellett added.

"They [the suppliers] construct [the terms and conditions] in such a way that nobody would ever consider reading them."

If more action is not taken by all concerned, it looks like we'll just have to wait until a large-scale data disaster happens for things to truly change.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.