Apple is hardly alone in demanding this level of comprehensive personal information. The iOS location-tracking revelations come on the heels of a federal investigation into mobile application data sharing. Investigators charge that seemingly harmless apps like Pandora are, while they're streaming you highly customized media, are also sending "age, gender, location and phone identifiers to various ad networks," according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal report found that the majority of the 101 apps it tested sent some personal information to a third-party data broker, largely without your knowledge.
But pity poor Google, which must gather all this information by increasingly intrusive means, like the DoubleClick ad cookie that tracks your browsing all across the Web, surreptitious Wi-Fi sniffing, and sending location information about you back to its data centers even when you're not running location apps.
On the other side of the aisle lies Facebook, which has cleverly cajoled 500 million users (and growing) into giving up virtually all the same information for free. Profiles, Places, Deals, and of course, the ever-present Like button, which lets you easily record your preferences for everything from opinions to shoes to celebrities and bands...you can almost imagine Facebook whispering a little "thank you" every time you click that little blue button.