Big Brother Apple?
Every Apple iPhone owner has a free app they didn’t even know they had: iKnow Where You Are.
The U.K. based newspaper The Guardian is reporting that security researchers have discovered the iPhone keeps tabs on your location at all times. The location log includes longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates as well as a timestamp. Each time the iPhone is synced to the computer a new log file is created. Apple has literally made it possible for anyone who cares enough to look, to have a complete map of an individual’s movements for as long as they have had the phone.
While this may seem as a Big-Brother breach against iPhone owners’ privacy, Apple is in the clear legally. Near the end of the 15,000 plus word iTunes terms and conditions document you never read before agreeing to them is this nugget, “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.”
For now it seems the data is simply being transferred from iPhones to the computers they are synched to and not to any third parties or Apple. However, this does little to ease the idea of someone stealing the location databases of iPhone users. Apple has yet to comment on the situation.
The scientists who discovered this, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, have set up a webpage (petewarden/iPhoneTracker @ GitHub
), which answers questions about the file and even have an app that lets users check for themselves the location data their iPhone has retained. It is worth noting the iPhone is the only device that researchers found to be collecting and hording location data information.
Source: The Guardian