Your iPhone is Tracking You

April 20th, 2011

So why does the iPhone record your location constantly, and add a timestamp to that location, effectively tracking everywhere you go? Huh Apple? Huh? From Engadget:

If you didn’t already think your smartphone knows too much about you, here’s a handy reminder. A duo of UK researchers have uncovered a potentially worrying (and oddly enough, undocumented) feature iniOS 4: it asks your iPhone to record your location constantly, then timestamps that data and records it for posterity. The trouble with this unsolicited location tracking is that the hidden file that holds the data — consolidated.db — is relatively easy to uncover and read, making any desktops you’ve backed your phone up to and the phone itself even bigger privacy dangers than they would usually be. Some extra digging revealed this behavior has been known about for a good while (see Courbis link below), though mostly by people involved in computer forensics. Additionally, restoring a backup or migrating to a new device keeps the data logging going, which the researchers point to as evidence that what’s happening isn’t accidental.