April 20, 2011 weblog
iPhone and iPad with iOS 4 records your moves (w/video)
(PhysOrg.com) -- Security researchers have discovered that any iPhone or iPad that has been updated with iOS 4 records everywhere you have been to a secret file. The file is also copied to the owners computer whenever the two are synchronized.
According to the Guardian, all your locations are logged to a file called consolidated.db and contain latitude and longitude coordinates along with a timestamp. The file can contain tens of thousands of data points since iOS 4s release in June 2010.
Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, founder of Data Science Toolkit, discovered the file and presented their findings today to the Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Alasdair has also looked into Googles Android phones for similar tracking code and could not find any.
Its not sure why Apple is collecting this data but its clearly intentional because the data is being restored across backups and phone migrations. Apples Product Security team was contacted but no one has responded.
In the following video Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan discuss how the file was discovered and exam the data in the file.
There is also no evidence that indicates that this data is leaving your phone and being viewed by anyone. Pete Warden has built an application that will allow anyone with an iPhone or iPad, using iOS 4, to view the data being stored (see more information below).
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