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Thread: Be Warned; Steve Jobs and his iPhone Know Where You Are

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    Regular User Array The Quiet American's Avatar
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    Be Warned; Steve Jobs and his iPhone Know Where You Are

    ...courtesy: SF Chronicle

    Apple slammed over iPhone, iPad location tracking

    Privacy watchdogs are demanding answers from Apple Inc. about why iPhones and iPads are secretly collecting location data on users records that cellular service providers routinely keep but require a court order to disgorge.

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    Regular User Array baksiidaa's Avatar
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    I didn't think this was going to be big at first but I'm seeing this news appear in a lot of places now. Naughty, naughty, Apple.

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    Olive Brancher (*) Array
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    IMO, about as much as a non-issue as when Google was "caught" capturing lots of extraneous WiFi information when they were Google Mapping locations all over - all blown out of proportions.

    All this was collecting was cell tower location - current data that is being used by the regular location based framework to feed apps using location data, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of that data wasn't also used forensically to determine where connectivity blind spots were. This would make sense considering how much flack they used to get about connection quality (in the USA only, though - thanks, AT&T).

    Either way, either they will explain it, or the next iOS revision will cull it properly -- I've read some of the articles and the simulated outrage they convey, which I fail to understand. It's only stored locally on the phone, as well as within the iTunes backup datafile -- so anyone wanting to abuse it either needs to steal your phone, or your computer, in which case you have bigger worries. Honestly, it wouldn't matter if this happened to Android of iOS (or even Microsoft), this is pretty much a non-issue, and the media loves making a mountain from that molehill, as usual. For what it's worth, though, Android stores the same data, in the same manner, but culls it properly so that only recent data is retained - in other words, they are doing it right.

    Worthwhile noting that the original forensic researchers who uncovered it made a point in their papers that this is not something worth blowing up, the way the media subsequently did, and is very critical of the way his reveal has been subsequently reported:

    iPhone forensics expert Alex Levinson has three problems with O’Reilly’s report on the “consolidated.db” location log file:

    - Apple is not collecting this data.
    - This hidden file is neither new nor secret.
    - This “discovery” was published months ago.

    In fact, it was published by Levinson, in a book titled iOS Forensic Analysis.

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    The Bully Slayer Array
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Quiet American
    Privacy watchdogs are demanding answers from Apple Inc. about why iPhones and iPads are secretly collecting location data on users records that cellular service providers routinely keep but require a court order to disgorge.
    How can it be "secretly collecting your location information" when the FIRST question the iPhone asks you when you buy it is if you would like the camera to use location services?

    You can turn this feature off. Every application that uses this service will ask you to allow it or not.

    Not sure what the big deal is.

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    Hangin' Around Array Cyrille's Avatar
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    Slow news day.

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    I tend not to believe articles like these. Media usually blows things out of proportion.

    I remember an article on engadget that claimed samsung had key loggers on their laptops.

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    Olive Brancher (*) Array
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbulance View Post
    How can it be "secretly collecting your location information" when the FIRST question the iPhone asks you when you buy it is if you would like the camera to use location services?

    You can turn this feature off. Every application that uses this service will ask you to allow it or not.
    Because what generates the information that's at the centre of all of this, is not being controlled by this location API - rather, it's part of the underlying mechanism of tracking cell towers. I think that's what has everyone's panties in a bunch - well, mostly those who don't understand how any of this technology works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cthulhu View Post
    Because what generates the information that's at the centre of all of this, is not being controlled by this location API - rather, it's part of the underlying mechanism of tracking cell towers. I think that's what has everyone's panties in a bunch - well, mostly those who don't understand how any of this technology works.
    But I thought you could track ANYONE with a cell phone. One could track the location of a $20 Nokia.

    It seems funny this came out at the same time as the news that Apple helped save Wall Street's week.

    It's the Martha Stewart goes to jail syndrome. Let's kick someone if we find anything just because they are so successful.

    ---Update---

    I guess the big deal is about it saving the file in your computer.

    Ah well. Whatever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turbulance View Post
    But I thought you could track ANYONE with a cell phone. One could track the location of a $20 Nokia.
    Teach me how.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enclavean View Post
    Teach me how.
    Law enforcement has been able to locate and track a mobile phone for ages

    Apple and Gpogle Android BOTH save the location and track you. Not sure why this thread picks on Apple. Android does the exact same thing.

    To answer your question, are you kidding? Type this into Google

    tracking a cell phone location

    Good luck.

    Actually, with a subpoena you could make TRUE tell you where I am right now regardless of the phone I am using.
    Last edited by turbulance; 23rd April 2011 at 22:09.

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    Senior Member Array buddahas's Avatar
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    Another spyphone non-event.

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    Pretty much...

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    Senior Member Array buddahas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cthulhu View Post
    My Loony Bun is fine Benny Lava. Minor engine burn Benny Lava."
    That's a funny video.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buddahas View Post
    That's a funny video.
    One of my favorites.


    For more detailed technical information on the "Apple Location Scandal", read this:

    Apple is not "recording your moves":

    willclarke.net Apple is not “recording your moves”

    Apple is not recording your moves, Urban Edition:

    willclarke.net Apple is not

    iPhone Location Data Mistery, Solved? :

    willclarke.net iPhone location data mystery… solved?


    Finally, to summarize:


    The file with all this location data is stored locally on your own phone or computer. Let’s say, hypothetically, your phone was stolen. They have your email, contacts, photos, text messages and documents. Plus access to any accounts that log in automatically.

    Are you really worried about the fact that they also can get a general idea of where you were six months ago?

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    Oh, and not only does Google do the same thing, but they associate a unique identifier with the data (Apple doesn't) and they retrieve the data several times an hour (Apple doesn't).

    http://m.gizmodo.com/5794745/the-wi+...th-a-unique-id

    The Wi-Fi Location Data Google Collects From Your Phone? It's Tagged With a Unique ID (Updated)
    The WSJ's headline—"Apple, Google Collect User Data"—borders on art, but the real point of note from the piece as it attempts to corral and make sense of the sprawling issue of cellphone location data is that when Google collects data about nearby Wi-Fi hotspots from your phone, that data is apparently tagged with "a unique identifier tied to an individual's phone," and it's sent to Google "at least several times an hour."

    It was uncovered by former MySpace-exploder-turned-security-consultant Samy Kamkar for the WSJ, which then verified his findings with an independent consultant, Ashkan Soltan.

    Google says that the data is totally anonymous, but by tagging location data coming from each phone with a unique identifier, it does potentially map out a phone's—and its user's—movements, no matter how well-protected or otherwise anonymized Google's database may be, especially given the frequency with which Google's apparently receiving data from phones. (Versus, say, dumping all of the location data into a massive pile with no unique ID for any of the data, like Apple does—presumably, if Google's simply mapping Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers, the data should be just as useful without the unique IDs.)

    Update 1:17PM EDT: An official statement from Google, in which they insist your data is completely and totally anonymized—and they note importantly, if you don't have Location Services turned on, the data's never sent back to them: "All location sharing on Android is opt-in by the user. We provide users with notice and control over the collection, sharing and use of location in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices. Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user."

    Also! The WSJ may have been a bit disingenuous about the way they present this "unique identifier" business—Microsoft and Apple do the same thing, and all three companies say everything is completely anonymous.

    So, uh, bottom line? Your phone, and a company or two knows where you are, if you allow them to. Just like yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, and so on. [WSJ]

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