Your iPhone is Spying on You: Al Franken Questions Steve Jobs
iOS 4: iPhone Tracks Your Movements- You Can't Disable It
Your iPhone is spying on you. Ever since June 2010 (the iOS4 update), iPhones have been recording geographical locations of its users using tower triangulation. This means that your iPhone has been recording your movements whether or not you are using it, and whether or not GPS is enabled. If the phone was switched on, it's been making a moment-by-moment map of where you go.
The iPhone spying issue hit mainstream media, and Minnesota Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Steve Jobs demanding to know the extent of the issue. (Al Franken letter to Steve Jobs-pdf)
This creepy iPhone-stalking "feature" was discovered by security researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan. They are presenting their findings at the Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco, but you can see this iPhone location-tracking map for yourself, using your own phone.
This location information is then stored in a secret file, and is copied to your computer whenever you sych. What happens if someone steals your phone? All they have to do to find the map of your life is jailbreak your phone. Jailbreaking, as we all know, is so simple that a child could do it.
Warden and Allan, both avowed Apple fans (Pete Warden is a former employee who says he left on good terms), found no evidence of similar device behavior in Android devices, or in any other major mobile platforms besides iOS.
However, Android does store recent location data in cache (as opposed to logging it). That's bad, from a security standpoint, but not as bad as what iOS is doing.
Why is Apple Tracking You?
It doesn't seem like your location data is being sent anywhere other than to your iPhone's storage or your synched computer, but think about it: your movements are being recorded and stored to an inherently unsafe device (it can be hacked easily, and stolen even more easily), with no explanation, and with no reasonable purpose.
Oh, and there's no fix for this issue. In the meantime, Apple had better pipe up about this: why is Cupertino so interested in where you go?
Until Apple stops doing this, or explains why they are doing it, I don't feel safe. I feel weird having all this data that I don't want recorded on my iPhone, and so do others.
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New York, New York, United States