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Looking to Track Someone’s Every Move? Get them an iPhone!

Iphone - tracks your every moveYou think I’m just joking don’t you?  Well… .I wish I was.  Two British researchers have looked deep into the iPhone’s OS and have discovered some rather concerning facts.  The Apple iPhone as it turns out is storing all of your location information in a file it syncs every time you connect it to your computer, allowing anyone (including Apple possibly) the ability to track your every move.  According to their research, the tracking data is updated by the second using cell towers to triangulate your location.  Sound creepy? Well it should because it’s true.


Pete Warden and Alasdair Alain are the two British researchers who discovered the hidden tracking file/process and they’ve presented their results on Wednesday. According to their paper, the iPhone stores latitude and longitude data, along with a timestamp, allowing someone with a simple piece of software to track the user’s movement fairly accurately and easily. The file is stored on the phone, as well as on the computer in an unencrypted format.

According to what the two researchers have said for The Guardian, this is not a random event as the file is transferred when you move your info to a new device. This probably means that Apple plans to use it for some new feature sometime in the future and it would seem that this has only happened since Apple updated its mobile operating system in July 2010, to iOS 4.

Even so, keeping all that data there unencrypted could yield some very unpleasant results not to mention the invasion of privacy.

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To checkout the data for yourself, simply download the app the two researchers have made for Mac OS X here.

The researchers say that only the iPhone behaves this way and that they found no evidence of Android devices doing it. On the other hand, Android devices store tons of contact and appointments data on Google’s server, so it’s up to you to choose your poison… 🙂

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