SANTA CLARA (CBS/AP) – Privacy watchdogs are demanding answers from Apple about why iPhones and iPads are collecting location data about their users.

The most recent dust-up, prompted by a report at a technology conference in Santa Clara raises questions about how much privacy consumers surrender by carrying around a smartphone and the responsibility of the smartphone makers to protect sensitive data that flows through their devices.

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Researchers emphasize that there’s no evidence that Apple Inc. itself has access to this data—it apparently stays on the device itself and the computers the data is backed up to.

Word that the unencrypted, unprotected file contained precise latitude and longitude information was disconcerting to many users, but not enough to give up their devices.

CNET Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley Comments:

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Virgina Claes of San Jose said it makes her think twice about ever buying an iPhone, although she conceded most smart phone users know what they’re getting into.

“Anytime that one chooses an app on their phone, it often asks for permission for tracking,” she said.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Associated Press.

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