The iPhone is Watching You

How would you feel if every single step you took, every single place you went to is being recorded and stored at some database and is free for almost anyone to look at at any time of the day? Kinda scary, but I mean come on. It’s not like you have a tiny tracker on your body that you didn’t know of that records your footsteps right? Wrong. You might as well have been stalked your whole life.. or at least from the moment you bought your iPhone.

It has recently been discovered by Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, two security researchers, that Apple’s iPhone keeps track of your location and saves that information to a file that is stored not only on the device but also on your computer when you sync or back it up in iTunes. I dunno about you but that’s pretty frightening. I mean it’s not like I have anything to hide with the places that I go to, it’s just that… Hello. What if you have a psycho stalker or something.

The two researchers found a hidden file while collaborating on a potential data visualization project. Warden commented, “At first we weren’t sure how much data was there,but after we dug further and visualized the extracted data, it became clear that there was a scary amount of detail on our movements.

The hidden file “consolidation.db” contains longitude and latitude coordinates along with a timestamp. With this data available, Warden and Allan created a web app that can create a visualization of a user’s location, creating the most layperson accessible proof of concept that shows the potential use of the available information.

Realistically speaking however, no one else other than yourself can have access to this data unless the iPhone itself is with them, or if your computer is with them. But still. What if they steal your phone. The discovery of this file leads to questions that Apple should begin to address soon because why is that data present in the first place?

 

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