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iPhone and Apple Devices Keeps Track of Everywhere You Go

You know, I love my iPhone 4. I think it is the best “micro mac” with a phone ever made. I also think it’s the best “smart phone” made. I have been an early adopter of the iPhone series starting with the original iPhone. I am also a huge fan and proponent of Apple products in general. But sometimes, technology can get a little creepy. Even for Apple.

UK security researchers Alasdair Allan and Peter Warden recently uncovered the fact that Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (Anything running iOS 4) keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner’s computer when the two are synchronized.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the device’s recorded coordinates along with a time stamp, meaning that anyone who stole the device or the computer could discover details about the owner’s movements using a simple program. Note – Owner could also be your company or IT department. Yikes!

For some phones, there could be almost a year’s worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple’s iOS 4 update to the devices operating system, released in June 2010. Of course no one at Apple is commenting on this. My guess is this, Apple is going to use this data for upcoming features and apps focused around Apple’s iAd platform and potentially apps based on travel and location-based solutions. Just a guess. I truly do not believe Apple is personally interested in where you go i.e. big brother. But the fact that the device is capturing the data without you, the user knowing it, nor giving you the opportunity to opt out, is rather sneaky and down right dangerous. Particularly around privacy issues. Not cool Apple!

There used to be a time when everyone referred to Microsoft as the evil empire. I now hear whispers of the same in regards to Apple and Google. As technology becomes more advanced and ubiquitous, our personal data which is centralized and stored remotely by numerous devices, the capturing, leveraging and control of PII – Personally Identifiable Information – will be king. It will be harvested for everything from security to marketing. Personal privacy will be gone. The willing and unwilling divulging of your personal information without your consent is now the price of admission to use technology. It’s not right or probably even legal, but there it is.

Want to see what Apple is capturing in regards to your little jaunts and visitations? I hope you haven’t been naughty as private investigators, nosy bosses, bored IT guys, disgruntled spouses, thugs, the government, etc. can now see every single place you have ever been, what time you were there, how long you there, plot it with Longitude and Latitude, etc. presuming of course you had your Apple device with you. You can download an app from the gents Allan and Warden at their website – click here…..  to actually see the data Apple is capturing and it will show you your places of visitation.

You can also view their FAQ’s on this issue. Finally, if you want to read more about this, you can check out an interesting article from the UK Paper The Guardian on this very topic here.

Now I need to get back to my iPhone. Oh, ironically….. Android phones don’t seem to have this embedded “feature” in their system according to Allan and Warden who meticulously checked. Maybe I will wait before I get an iPhone 5.

-DF

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Written by David Frederick

April 20, 2011 at 11:49 AM

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