Steve Jobs has responded in the tracking row that has hit the iPhone, directly emailing a despondent fanboy (from his own iPhone) to say that Apple doesn't track individuals and its big rival, Google, does.

The email conversation went like this:

Q: Steve,

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It's kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don't track me.

A: Oh yes they do. We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Now, as with all Jobs email replies, there's always the risk that the quote isn't entirely genuine - but the response seems to be getting plenty of media coverage (even from the mainstream), and Apple is yet to state anything officially, so chances are that it's the real deal.

Last week, Pocket-lint told you how research from security experts found that after the iOS 4 release a users' location was stored locally on an iDevice and any synced computer (but apparently is not sent elsewhere). The reports also suggests that this data collection is "intentional".

A couple of days later it emerged that Google too was guilty of tracking with a report in the WSK stating data collected from Android handsets included not only locations but names and signal strength of any nearby Wi-Fi networks, along with the unique phone identifier.

If the attention on this row doesn't die down soon, we'd expect to see official word from the tech giants. So stay tuned for further updates.

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