ARTICLE: Your iPhone is secretly tracking you all the time

Discussion in 'Travel Security' started by Funtodoimpossible, Apr 20, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Funtodoimpossible
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    Funtodoimpossible Gold Member

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    Your iPhone is secretly tracking you all the time

    By Rosa Golijan
    Your iPhone has a hidden feature: It tracks and records your location constantly whether you want it to or not. What? You wish it wouldn't do that without your knowledge or consent? Too bad, because there's not much you can do about the tracking feature right now.

    Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, a pair of security researchers, recently discovered that iPhones — as well as 3G-enabled iPads — running iOS 4 constantly record and store their users' locations in unencrypted files. These files are basically very long lists of latitude-longitude coordinates and timestamps, and they can be found on the devices themselves as well as within the software backups saved on users' computers.

    <snip>
    http://digitallife.today.com/_news/...-secretly-tracking-you-all-the-time?GT1=43001
     
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  2. taiwaned
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    So all the cop shows on TV are right, the various "police" agencies can track a criminal anytime you want. Not sure I am too comfortable with that concept.
     
  3. Travel2Food
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    A
    Ah, but it's not just a criminal.

    I am uncomfortable with the concept, especially since tools exist to download everything on a phone in a matter of seconds.
     
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  4. Lufthansa Flyer
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    i tried the iphone tracker app and it was spot on for my ipad.
     
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  5. taiwaned
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    I can see some possible usages. For example, I have a family member who has progressive dementia. I can track such a person if need be ...... of course that is on the assumption that individulal remembers to bring her iphone.......
     
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  6. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Expect to see groupon pop ups and emails sending you crap about places that you are near as you travel.
     
  7. taiwaned
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    Friends finding each other in a big venue (like a football stadium) might be handy but not having the option to turn it off is what bothers me.
     
  8. hulagrrl210
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    I guess if I become a criminal I should steal a different phone. On a serious note though, that kinda creeps me out too, with not being able to opt out or turn it off.
     
  9. hulagrrl210
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    My living social thinks I live on Oahu...just a little bit off :oops:
     
  10. Concerto
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    I watched this story on the news tonight. My understanding is that other people cannot track you because of this feature. They would have to have actual physical access to your iPhone, your iPad or the computer that you sync them with to see where you have been. So, although I am not happy about this turn of events, it is not quite a "creepy" as it sounds...
     
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  11. PhlyingRPh
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    Fairly outrageous. Corporations have no respect for our privacy anymore. Kroger, three hours after 9/11 hands the government files with everyone's Kroger card purchases, then AT&T lets the government trawl through every phone call. Of course, Google gives it all away to the government, but so do airlines and travel agencies, and now it turns out Apple knows every time my car has broken down outside various Houston gentleman's clubs and I have had to go in and make a phone call for help.
     
  12. taiwaned
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    Can you imagine a court order in the future, ordering some husband to hand over his IPhone to see where he was on a certain night to prove he was with his mistress or something.......
     
  13. Funtodoimpossible
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    Found the following articles on this issue this morining:

    Government officials want answers to secret iPhone tracking
    
    By Helen A.S. Popkin
    Update: Information about Google Android tracking practices has been added since this story first posted.
    
    While iPhone and iPad owners waffled between Skynet jokes and genuine concern over the confirmation that the devices are mapping their every move in accessible files for up to a year, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., got down to business, firing off nine pointed questions in a two-page open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
    
    The tech-savvy senator cuts to the chase — the fact that iPhones and iPads running iOS 4 record and store users' locations in unencrypted files is serious. Sen. Franken's letter begins:

    I read with concern a recent report by security researchers that Apple's iOS 4 operating system is secretly compiling its customers' location data in a file stored on iPhones, 3G iPads and every computer that users use to "sync" their devices. According to the researchers, this file contains consumers' latitude and longitude for every day they used an iPhone or 3G iPad running the iOS 4 operating system — sometimes logging their precise geo-location up to 100 times a day. The researchers who discovered this file found that it contained up to a year's worth of data, starting from the day they installed the iOS4 operating system. What is even more worrisome is that this file is stored in an unencrypted format on customers' iPads, iPhones and every computer a customer has used to back up his or her information.
    <snip>

    http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_new...icials-want-answers-to-secret-iphone-tracking
     
  14. Funtodoimpossible
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    Apple, Google tap phone location data: report
    The two build databases that could help them tap a market for location-based services


    NEW YORK — Apple's iPhones and Google's Android phones send back data about the locations of the users to the technology companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

    These phones regularly transmit such data to Apple and Google as the two build databases that could help them tap a market for location-based services, the Journal reported, citing data and documents it had analyzed.

    <snip>
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42717490/ns/technology_and_science-security/
     
  15. Concerto
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    The info that is coming out is so confusing. Some say that Apple can track people with the iPhone/iPad 3G and some say they cannot -- that they would have to physically access the device. I sure hope someone clears this up soon... :confused:
     
  16. taiwaned
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    They say they anonomize the information in the database so therefore it cannot identify the user. What bothers me is they never asked the user for permission to collect the data and what is anonomized by formula can be un-anonomized by forumula if need be. Yes they may not know the name of the individual but if the individual has a unique habit, that person can be easily identified. IE: Goes out and works out at a certain gym at 6 am then goes to a certain Starbucks for a coffee etc......
     
  17. GUWonder
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    Physical access to the computer used for syncing isn't a necessary condition to get the info, although that would make things even easier. Also, if the user ends up downloading something onto the other devices mentioned above, perhaps physical access may not be a necessary condition to get the same info either.
     
  18. Funtodoimpossible
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    Another update:

    iPhone tracks you, even with location feature disabled
    By Rosa Golijan

    As we've previously reported, Apple's iPhone is tracking and recording users' locations without ever giving individuals the chance to opt-out of the process. There were suggestions that turning off the device's location services feature — which is on by default and necessary in order for many apps to run properly — would put an end to the tracking, but testing reveals otherwise.

    The WSJ conducted tests to determine whether or not an iPhone 4 would cease recording location data once its location services feature was turned off. In order to do that, a device was restored to its default factory settings after it was confirmed that it was running the latest version of Apple's iOS software:

    The Journal disabled location services (which are on by default) and immediately recorded the data that had initially been gathered by the phone. The Journal then carried the phone to new locations and observed the data. Over the span of several hours as the phone was moved, it continued to collect location data from new places.​

    <snip>
    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/article-your-iphone-is-secretly-tracking-you-all-the-time.9164/
     

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