Location Based Tracking From Apple

Apple has apparently applied hidden features in your iPhone or iPad that runs on iOS 4, features that bear a resemblance to Big Brother. Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden are security researchers who discovered the company’s tracking file and announced that finding on April 20th during the Where 2.0 conference. Since that revelation, the web has everyone talking about this as an intrusion in privacy. Called “consolidated.db”, the Apple iOS 4 tracking file chronicles latitude and longitude coordinates in tandem with the time and the location being recorded, resulting in a relatively accurate database of the iPhone or iPad location since it has been updated with the iOS 4. With an irregular variation of the frequency that the location is saved, Allan and Warden theorize that the trigger for the location tracking is a change between cellular towers and/or activity on the phone or tablet. It gets even more bizarre as the data is unencrypted and without any sort of protection, that using an app the two have developed with the file makes it relatively simple for anyone to have access to the whole list. Despite this kind of information carriers normally have, it usually requires a court order before any location data can be released, making Apple’s dilemma unconventional to say the least. The researching pair believe that this feature has to have been intentional, as it is repeatedly backed up and updated each time the device is synced with other computers, making it even more accessible to anyone who is able to enter these other computers. Accurate up to 50 meters or less, it appears not to differ as long as the iOS 4 is what the device runs on, even those which belong to children. Despite already contacting Apple’s Security team and having the FCC preparing to look into the matter, nothing insinuates that any of the data is being sent out from the device. Already called on by several US senators for the uninformed and non-consented tracking, Apple still has yet to comment on the issue. This morning, members of the US Senate are starting to ask questions about this and want answers from Apple. The tracking of individuals via cell phones has been growing in recent years with location based services, such as Google Maps and Foursquare use the GPS feature built into smart phones to determine where you are in order to provide information back to you. That is stored on your smart phone and potentially on servers somewhere. The location based concept has some being concerned about information being saved showing your location. All of this will be interesting to see how it is resolved.

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