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Thread: "Locationgate:" Invasion of Privacy or Epic FAIL?

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  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Paul Daniel Ash's Avatar
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    Default "Locationgate:" Invasion of Privacy or Epic FAIL?


    The most recent Apple scandal - which is already being called "Locationgate" - has been raging on this and other sites since it was revealed yesterday. If you're coming to this late: Apple is storing all of your location history on an unencrypted file on your iPhone that is backed up to your computer every time you sync. The reasons for this are unclear, as Apple is giving the world its usual silent treatment. But, as Phillip noted yesterday, developers have put together a Mac app that lets you browse that data on an interactive map, and the angry reaction has spread to Capitol Hill, as Mike told us earlier today.

    As the devs Alasdair @aallan Allan and Pete @petewarden Warden explain, there's a file in every backup saved on your machine when you sync that stores every location you've ever visited in an SQL database. Once they figured out how to locate that file, they wrote a slick little app that parsed the data and used the very awesome OpenStreetMap tiles created by volunteers (who totally deserve your support) to display every place you've ever been with your iPhone. Except not really: rather than your exact GPS location, it appears to show the location of the towers your phone has connected to. This could explain why my map shows me in Glens Falls, New York, a place I've never been (honest, honey!): towers there cover an area including part of rural Vermont, where we often go on the weekends.

    So, is it a big deal?

    No and yes, really. This is not new news: we noted the change in Apple's terms and conditions almost a year ago that gave the company rights to not only gather our location data but share it with whoever they wanted. Most users (including this one) blindly clicked "Agree," though it's not like we had that much of an alternative. However, everyone did pretty much assume that Apple was keeping close control of the data, rather than storing it on millions of unsecured end-user Macs, and so the potential privacy issue is real.

    Why did they do it? Very well-connected blogger Jon Gruber claims the "little birdies" inside Apple are telling him it was an "oversight," which if true is almost worse than Apple being secretive: the existence of this file was known to forensics researchers since late last year. So this is not only a PR problem, but potentially a significant quality-control FAIL on Apple's part; until the inevitable patch comes to remove or encrypt the file, grab a hold of @rpetrich's untrackerd tweak.

    Source: Andy Ihnatko

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  3. #2
    ouch gonna be a big scandal

  4. #3
    So how many of you people are surprised. If you are, you're morons. Apple uses you all for fools every day. Every one of you will go out and buy the next iTurd when it comes out even if it records your conversations and e-mail them directly to Jobs himself.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by GmAz View Post
    So how many of you people are surprised. If you are, you're morons. Apple uses you all for fools every day. Every one of you will go out and buy the next iTurd when it comes out even if it records your conversations and e-mail them directly to Jobs himself.
    A) You don't need to call people "Morons". Some don't know everything.
    B) If I'm correct, it looks like YOU own a 3GS. So you, in turn, just called yourself a fool.

    Be a little respectable in these forums.

  6. #5
    iPhone? More like MyPhone trentmorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GmAz View Post
    So how many of you people are surprised. If you are, you're morons. Apple uses you all for fools every day. Every one of you will go out and buy the next iTurd when it comes out even if it records your conversations and e-mail them directly to Jobs himself.
    God you're ignorant.

  7. #6
    Great... Another patch incoming. Sad panda.

  8. #7
    My iPhone is a Part of Me delusion950's Avatar
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    This is why I delete every backup I never restore from it.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by delusion950 View Post
    This is why I delete every backup I never restore from it.
    Whats the point of backing up if you just delete it?

  10. #9
    My iPhone is a Part of Me delusion950's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The6uest View Post
    Whats the point of backing up if you just delete it?
    The point is iTunes does it by itself I don't do it. When I "X" it it doesn't want to sync at least my laptop. That's the point.

  11. #10
    I think this has been blown way out of portion! Can't this be done with every smart phone out there, not just the iPhone? Were all being watched, I pretty sure Apple isn't one we have to worry about.

  12. #11
    Livin the iPhone Life mikerlx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delusion950 View Post
    This is why I delete every backup I never restore from it.
    Thanks for the tip!


    Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi

  13. #12
    My iPhone is a Part of Me delusion950's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikerlx View Post
    Thanks for the tip!


    Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
    Oh hey no problem

  14. #13
    iPhone? More like MyPhone johnr9412's Avatar
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    I guess I must be morally corrupt because my general reaction to this whole location thing is just kind of "meh".
    my SPOON is too big

  15. #14
    La Malcria Co1d Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnr9412 View Post
    I guess I must be morally corrupt because my general reaction to this whole location thing is just kind of "meh".
    +1

    meh.

    Quote Originally Posted by chakraj View Post
    This is about property rights not privacy. The information collected in consolidated.db is my information, thus my property. I do not give apple permission to use my property without paying me for it. I do not give things for free unless I want to, yes if they pay me what I think is a fair sum (my choice as it is my property) then they can use it ( i retain all rights and expect to be payed by any person passing along or using said property). However if my price is to high then they can just use someone elses property who doesnt think it is of any value.

    Value is in the eye of the beholder, and you set your own value or price. They dont have to buy it if they dont want to.
    No again as in the thread below. consolidated.db is part of the operating system owned by apple not you. stop being stupid.

    For the uneducated:

    Do you think Apple is the only one who does this? It's NOT just apple's phones. Android, Blackberry, Sprint, Nokia, Google, Palm, T-Mobile, RIM, etc...they all do it. Why? To gather information about its consumers. Think of it like this...you register an account on Bestbuy or some other major company (insert major company here). When you make your account, you're prompted to put your address, phone number, first name, credit card/paypal information, etc. Why? To learn more about their consumers and for the billing/package information. Do you think they wave your personal info around people's faces? You think they'll send assassins to come and steal your ****? Send a convicted child molestor to rape your four yr old girl?

    While my reasoning for why apple exactly is collecting this information may not be exact but i ask...where is the harm? Humanity is so weak minded. They only fear death and pain. You fear for your own lives like its the end of the world for the simplest things that doesn't concern you at the least.

    And for the "It's my right as a human/american to have my privacy.." No. It's not. You agreed to something Apple has in their TOS. If you don't like it, good luck finding another company to use as your cellular service. Maybe a go-phone will be more appealing.
    Last edited by Co1d Night; 04-22-2011 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    No confundas mi personalidad con mi actitud. Mi personalidad es quien soy yo, mi actitud depende de quien seas tú.

  16. #15
    I truly hope no one believes that Android, Blackberry and other phones don't do the same or that your service provider doesn't track this info too. Do you really think they don't keep track of that info when you use the location services too?

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  18. #16
    Is both an option?

    (question is the title)

  19. #17
    iPhone? More like MyPhone Dust Busta's Avatar
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    Who cares? I really don't see what the big deal is. Why is everyone freaking out about this?

  20. #18
    Yeah this doesn't really bother me either. Although it IS different that the files are unencrypted on computers and iDevices everywhere. This is not the same as Apple and AT&T logging location info because now anyone who wants to & has access to either can take a look at your location info for the last year. That means nosy parents, boyfriends & girlfriends, spouses and siblings. That's definately different than Apple logging location info on secure servers with no personal info about the devices owners.

    And what's the difference between logging the devices location or the cell tower that it is connected to? Doesn't seem like much of a difference to me
    Last edited by kraziebone; 04-21-2011 at 03:50 PM.

  21. #19
    Privacy is a big deal.

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  23. #20
    iPhone? More like MyPhone Dust Busta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billmilo View Post
    Privacy is a big deal.
    Is it really privacy? You're agreeing to give apple your info. Plus, It's saved on your iPhone and in your backups it's not like it's being stolen and given out to who ever wants it.

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