We Know Where You’ve Been….Now Others Will Too!

Do you remember how excited you were when you first got your hands on the new iPhone?  Well, apparently your iPhone remembers that too…and much more about you as well.

(PCMAG.COM) I’m surprised everyone is not up in arms over the revelation that the iPhone tracks its users and stores the data in a secret file that is carried to the personal computer. The Guardian blew the lid off this story today. According to The Guardian:

Security researchers have discovered that Apple’s iPhone 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. If you are looking for digital Portfolio app, visit https://www.classdojo.com/studentstories/ for more information.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone’s recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner’s movements using a simple program.

I don’t know about you, but the fact that this feature exists on an iPhone is a deal-killer. I wouldn’t use such a device. It’s not that I care if someone knows where I’ve been. I just do not like the idea of being tracked like a dog. Apparently, the researchers did not find a similar program on an Android or other smartphones.

There appears to be no explanation for this feature, but I have a few guesses.

The obvious reason for this data is to reverse engineer individual patterns, so if you purchase marketing services, it can make some determinations about how to sell us more junk. Are we in and out of cafe’s all day? Do we drive around a lot? It’s all good data.

The researchers did not discover that the phone is reporting the data to HQ, but I’m sure it’s doing it somehow.

Unlike the cell tower information that the police can access, this sort of information could be retrieved by anyone through accessing the PC or Mac where the info is transferred. Thus, patterns of behavior could be used to benefit robbers looking to burglarize your home, or kidnappers looking to grab someone. Not to get too grisly, but assassins would love access to this sort of thing. “Yes, he is always on Pine Road at 9 AM.”

Spouses could use the data to deconstruct suspicious movement, and your boss could use the data to show you have been consistently late to work on Tuesdays—by 10 minutes every day.

There is no end to the dubious usefulness of this sort of tracking information. And it could be argued that drug traffickers could be ferreted out, but few are dumb enough to use an iPhone in the first place. They use disposable cheapies.

While the security researchers have discovered this “feature,” there is no clear way to get rid of it. An interesting iPhone Tracker Web site has cropped up that allows you to look at your data (see where you’ve been!). There’s no real way to prevent the phone from building the database, but the site suggests encrypting your backup, so snoops cannot access the data from your PC.

Map shops location data collected from an iPhone that had been used in the southwest of England.

This is an out-and-out scandal, as far as I’m concerned. And I’m certain that more than a few screenwriters will use this as a mechanism for an upcoming Law & Order or CSI episode.

Users should demand answers from Apple immediately and request that the feature be removed. Nobody wants this. And I do not see it as something that has been used to bring down any drug cartels, either.

It’s just another pathetic part of this surveillance society that we’ve meekly accepted. Thank you, Steve Jobs.

About Ad rem

Millions of little gray cells wrapped in fur.
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49 Responses to We Know Where You’ve Been….Now Others Will Too!

  1. WeeWeed says:

    Ominous, that. I can think of all kinds of bad sorts that would love this info. iPhone owners need to start emailing and raising cain!


    • Ad rem says:

      If Apple gets away with this, you can bet the other phones will start employing the same device as well. They’ll be marketing our movements from morning to night.


  2. ZMalfoy says:

    . . . my current iphone contract is up this fall . . . I’ve been thinking about switching to a droid. This makes a good argument for that . . .


    • Ad rem says:

      We got our daughter a 3G a couple of years ago. We thought since it was older, it would be clean. According to the Guardian article, the older phones are ‘infected’ as well. Remember when Obama visited with these guys in Silicon Valley last year……(adjusting tin foil hat)?


      • ZMalfoy says:

        *tweaking her own in accord* I havea 3G myself. I got it because I hate phones with a passion, so as a result, people could never reach men, because I was never charging my phone. But, a mini-computer with phone capabilities is a whole ‘nother matter. And at the time, the Android was only just getting up to the level of the iphone. I knew then that the next go-round, things might be different, and I suspect they will be.

        I just hope that when I switch, I don’t loose my Guns N Roses ringtone. . . that would make me sad . . .


        • Ad rem says:

          I feel exactly the same…..hate even hearing the phone ring. (Means someone’s interrupting what I’m doing…needing something, or trying to sell me something.) Call me curmudgeonly, but no one’s ever called telling me I’ve inherited money or won a lottery. 🙂


  3. stellap says:

    There have been recent news reports about husbands tracking their estranged wives because they have the family phone package that allows them to locate the GPS coordinates of the phone. One guy followed his wife to a woman’s shelter for the purpose of doing bodily harm.

    Think how much easier this kind of trail would have made his job.


  4. freedom1781 says:

    I’ll add this to the many reasons why I only use disposable cell phones!

    When the iPhone first came out, I always suspected that something like this would happen. Of course, my much younger sisters thought that I was crazy. Whatever. Oh, I’ll never buy a car with a GPS as standard equipment, either.


  5. Ad rem says:

    Listening to Rush….discussing this on the opening to his show. He doesn’t seem overly concerned….takes Apple at it’s word that it is not using the info gathered.


  6. staceedb says:

    I am not very “tech” savvy..but..a few months ago my husband bought a new “pay-as-you-go” phone with Virgin Mobile.. I think it is the “Virgin Mobile – LG Optimus V No-Contract Mobile Phone – Black” ; however, my daughter was using it in the car when we were going from our house to South Bend one day and she happened to notice that a “google” map had a picture of a car traveling and it was us and it was tracking where we were at and going ?? WTF? Maybe it isn’t just the iPhone after all??


  7. Jennifer H says:

    Orwellian days are here. What scares me most about this type of ‘benign’ activity is the Overton Window concept.


  8. Persephone says:

    Does the GPS still track the phone even when the phone is turned off?
    Anyone know?
    Or if the battery was out of it?


  9. Patriot Dreamer says:

    Apple, Google Collect User Data

    Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Google Inc.’s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.



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