The internet (and main-stream press) went bananas today with the revelation that Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) contains a log of your location data for the past 12 months. Two researches for O’Reilly media published an article and video explaining the very sensitive issue.
A file contained within iOS backups called Consolidated.db contains latitudes, longitudes, timestamps and device ID’s. It appears this was added in iOS4 and as usual with most things critical of Apple, they’re not talking about it. Naturally news like this spreads across tech sites like wildfire, but surprisingly, main-stream news also picked up this and engaged in a bit of Apple-bashing.
The good news is, there is no evidence of this information being transmitted back to Apple or 3rd party applications. It is however still concerning there’s a single location storing your movements, data that’s potentially very dangerous in the wrong hands.
This was location archive was actually discovered some months ago, but apparently the original pioneers were terrible at telling the world, now today they’re keen to get credit. Seriously just use Tip Your Editors on any mainstream tech blog.
Apple’s decision to stay quiet on the issue is quite frankly is pretty unacceptable corporate behaviour, particularly in-regards to an issue of security. Props to O’Reilly and specifically Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan for bringing this issue to the public spotlight. If users needed any convincing just how scary this data is, seeing it visually makes it sink in real fast.
So given the information available is seriously concerning, but its location is essentially controlled by you (just don’t loose your device), then how do you feel about it ? Should Apple release an immediate update to stop it ? Will your stop using your iOS device ?
Microsoft jumped at the chance to point out that the way location information works on Windows Phones is that only the latest lat, long info is stored for the ‘find my phone’ feature. On the Android side of things its a similar story, unless of course you use Google latitude, then Google, your friends, or everyone in the world knows where you’ve been.
Boy Genius Report has a great article on what we actually signup to allow manufacturers (and partners) to do with out information, its surprisingly scary. We all knew those 57 page agreements were that long for a reason.
More info @ Engadget