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iOS4 - Your iPhone Is recording Your Movements


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 20 Apr 2011

pocketgpsworld.com
Whilst Apple are celebrating a massive rise in profits, up 113% over the same period last year, a group of UK researchers have discovered a hitherto undocumented feature of iOS4, it has been watching you.

For the last 10mths, if you own an iPhone or an iPad3G, it has been quietly storing your location history complete with with timestamps.

The data is backed up every time you sync and if you restore a new phone, the location history is silently restored as well.

Whilst the location data appears to be based on cell triangulation rather than GPS, its discovery has sparked new privacy concerns, particularly as, when stored on your computer, it can be easily read by anyone with access.

The researchers have even created a simple app that will read the location database file and show your history on a map to demonstrate how much data has been stored.

By way of an example, the image above is from my iPad. I've never visited some of the supposed locations so it's clearly far from perfect. There is no suggestion that the data is being sent to Apple but everyone wants to know why the data is being collected in the first place?

Source: iPhoneTracker

Comments
Posted by MaFt on Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:46 am Reply with quote

Initially I thought this was for targetet iAds.

When they launched iAds last year they had an option to opt-out of targetted ad's. I did this on my '3G' but not on the '4'.

When I get chance I'll check the 3G and see if that also has the data stored on it.

Regardless, everyone has agreed to the data being collected anyway: http://www.apple.com/privacy/

Quote:
Apple and its partners use cookies and other technologies in mobile advertising services to control the number of times you see a given ad, deliver ads that relate to your interests, and measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns. If you do not want to receive ads with this level of relevance on your mobile device, you can opt out by accessing the following link on your device: http://oo.apple.com. If you opt out, you will continue to receive the same number of mobile ads, but they may be less relevant because they will not be based on your interests. You may still see ads related to the content on a web page or in an application or based on other non-personal information. This opt-out applies only to Apple advertising services and does not affect interest-based advertising from other advertising networks.


Quote:
Location-Based Services

To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.

Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the MobileMe “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.


Quote:
Last updated: June 21, 2010


After reading this I am starting to think it is to do with Find My iPhone form MobileMe - didn't they open this up to non MobileMe users when iOS4 came out? It makes sense for it to know where you are to find your phone... Though not quite sure why it doesn't just store, say, the last 10 locations. Unless it's for a mixture of iAds and MobileMe


The funny thing is, because it's Apple everyone is up in arms. Yet when TomTom did it and created the IQ Routes no one batted an eyelid...

MaFt


MaFt®

 
Posted by Darren on Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:03 am Reply with quote

This blog post makes a few interesting points and offers balance to the original article (which wasn't that original as it now transpires):

Major issues with the latest iPhone tracking discovery

Quote:
1) Apple is not collecting this data.

2) This hidden file is neither new nor secret.

3) This “discovery” was published months ago.

Others have also discovered that more than just cell site data is being collected so the one issue that remains unanswered - so far - is WHY?


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by Skippy on Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:30 am Reply with quote

Even more of a concern to me is that the mobile phone companies retain this information about everyone too.


Gone fishing!

 
Posted by Rowan29a on Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:22 am Reply with quote

Quote:
After reading this I am starting to think it is to do with Find My iPhone form MobileMe - didn't they open this up to non MobileMe users when iOS4 came out?

MaFt


Sadly, the free Find my Phone service is only available to those who can run to an iPhone 4 using OS V4.2 and above. Rolling Eyes


Mike -
TomTom 750 Live
iPhone 5 16GB, Kavaj "Dallas" case

 
Posted by mcogman on Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:24 am Reply with quote

Actually, I'm running Find My iPhone on a 3GS. The app is available in iTunes App Store and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with IOS 3.1.3 and above. It is also part of MobileMe if you have that.


 
Posted by Rowan29a on Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:31 am Reply with quote

mcogman Wrote:
Actually, I'm running Find My iPhone on a 3GS. The app is available in iTunes App Store and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with IOS 3.1.3 and above. It is also part of MobileMe if you have that.


Quite correct but you have to pay for the MobileMe service. The Find My Phone service is free if you have a iPhone 4 but not the 3GS unfortunately.


Mike -
TomTom 750 Live
iPhone 5 16GB, Kavaj "Dallas" case

 
Posted by mcogman on Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:53 am Reply with quote

Acknowledged - another reason to have MobileMe!

Back on topic, I guess that as this has now reached "the media" this time around, the "problem" will be blown out of all proportion as usual.

After all, the security arguments would have been valid if Apple had purposely hidden and then transmitted this data for their own uses. As they didn't the problem shouldn't arise.

Perhaps we need to focus more clearly on those software companies and developers who do subvert our trust.

Mike.


 
Posted by Darren on Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:37 pm Reply with quote

mcogman Wrote:
Back on topic, I guess that as this has now reached "the media" this time around, the "problem" will be blown out of all proportion as usual.

Oh yes, you can bet on it. It's almost laughable that there are people shouting about this whilst at the same time posting a screenshot of their location history Laughing

I still think it's a little odd that Apple have chosen to keep the data for so long and there are some genuine concerns about the data that could be available to anyone who steals your phone or has access to the machine that you sync with.

But it's important to keep a sense of perspective here. And that's difficult when it's Apple as all those with a grudge against Apple for whatever reason will be making far more of this than there actually is.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by steveJ on Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:50 pm Reply with quote

It would appear that the Andriod "fandroids" have not been left out by Google either:
http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/39690/google-also-tracking-with-android


 
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