Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Apple Spy

Apple makes it easier for people to find out where you have been, provided they can get access to your iPhone for a few minutes.

Why Apple does this is anyone's guess. The publicity of this "feature" won't change Apple's practices; they wrote the book on corporate arrogance.


Cirze said...

I remember a long time ago when they announced that the I-phones, which had this capability, would be useful to Homeland Security (or whatever they were calling it then) to track terrrrsstt.

Thanks for following up.

Eck! said...

Cell phones have similar capability, not sure if they are tracking it in the phone but the TPC can log it from the towers that phone checks in with.

On one level it's a yawn. OF another level it's quite sinister as the data has great potential for misuse and abuse. When there is potential for abuse it generally means it's being abused!


Marc said...

I figure the GPS ability of smart phones uses basic triangulation from local cel towers to pinpoint where the phone is, and the data could just be locally cached (instead of flushed) for future reference, since storage space is cheap. Not encrypting or auto flushing the data may have been a programing blind spot on the part of the coder(s). I generally don't equate laziness or stupidity with evil unless there is a definite trend.

Marc said...

After some searching here is a good explanation:


randompawses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
randompawses said...

Sorry, had to correct a typo...

I seem to recall seeing something on the news lately that Michigan (if I'm recalling correctly) is going to make it so that if you're stopped for any reason by traffic cops (even a burned out tail light), they will be authorized to remove data from your smartphone - and maybe from any computer you have in your possession (somebody may need to correct me on this), so they can see where you've been and what you've been doing. Yep, warrantless searches are here, no cause for suspicion needed. Nothing to see here; move along, Comrade....

Anonymous said...

This is happening on non-Apple devices too.

BadTux said...

All cell phones provide tracking data to cell phone towers, it's a legal requirement (see: E911 requirement) for all cell phones sold in America. All of this data is immediately available to law enforcement with nothing more than a simple letter stating that you are a "person of interest", no warrant required (see: PEN register exemption, plus recent Supremes dancing on GPS tracking).

The only difference here is that the iPhone for some reason also retained this data internally in its own memory. Apple says that this was a mistake and that they will fix it in a future release of the iPhone OS. So it goes.

- Badtux the Privacy Penguin

Sarah said...

Here's why Apple is doing this - or, why their chief counsel says they're doing it. For customer service. And it's all anonymized data that's beamed back to Apple. Yeah.

Apple's letter and pdf.

Interesting details. Cell tower data ( signal strengths, drops ) are logged, as are all WiFis used on the route.

You can either assume this is an innocent network maintenance effort - or that it's a sinister mandate of the feds. The truth may be in between those extremes.