User beware: your iPhone is spying on you!

From the unbelievable department today: researchers discovered that every iPhone with iOS4 and every iPad 3G is continuously recording the location of the device. The file with locations and timestamps is hidden among device backup files. That means that every time you backup your device via iTunes, the location file is copied into your Mac or PC. There is even software available that will decode the data and put the dots to the map. Right now, there is no evidence that Apple is accessing that information. However, even without Apple’s access it’s a huge security risk: anyone with temporary access to your computer can download your movement info across months and eventually years. Moreover, you cannot turn this “feature” off, and it doesn’t rely on GPS – the coordinates are calculated using cell tower triangulation method. While it’s unprecise, it’s better than GPS in some aspects: it consumes a lot less battery energy and it works inside buildings and cars. Just wow.

This is how a typical map looks like after routes are decoded and visualized:

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2 Responses to User beware: your iPhone is spying on you!

  1. Yuri Zholobov says:

    I bet on Apple going same route as Google in Street View wi-fi network collection scandal – “it was a programming mistake, a leftover legacy code”.

  2. Oleg Kokorin says:

    We’ll see about that. Apple is smart enough not to upload or access these data in any way. Overall, it’s a good feature that can lead to many nice applications. They only need to add ability to turn it off and make it more secure via encryption or something.

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