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ExtraBITS for 5 March 2012

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Two quick bits for you this week — Apple’s 25 billionth App Store download and the New York Times revelation that third-party apps to which you give location permission also get access to your photo library.

Apple Marks 25 Billion App Store Downloads -- Apple sent out a press release over the weekend highlighting what just a short time ago sounded like an impossible milestone: the 25 billionth App Store download. (Yes, that’s ‘billion’ with a B — just imagine Carl Sagan saying it in “Cosmos.”) The celebrated app in question was Disney’s Where’s My Water? Free, a game where you help friendly Swampy the Alligator fix the plumbing in the city’s sewers where he lives so he can take a shower. The app was downloaded by Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China, who will be receiving a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

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iOS Apps with Location Permission Can Access Your Photos -- Nick Bilton of the New York Times reports that a loophole in iOS’s security infrastructure enables apps you have allowed to determine your current location to access all the photos on your device (presumably due to the location information stored within photos). Although there are no known instances of this capability being abused in the wild, a proof-of-concept app commissioned by the New York Times showed that it could upload photos to a remote server once it had been given location permission. Apple will likely fix this soon; in the meantime, we recommend turning off unnecessary permissions in Settings > Location Services.

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