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Your iPhone Has Been Tracking You Secretly

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The story of the day is that your iPhone has been quietly tracking you–in the background. Are you scared? Here’s what Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden from O’Reilly Radar have to say:

…your iPhone, and your 3G iPad, is regularly recording the position of your device into a hidden file. Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps. We’re not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it’s clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations.

If you keep your phone safe, and have nothing to hide, there’s no problem. The issue here is, you’re not being opted into this tracking as it takes place in the background, plus this data is stored unencrypted.

Is this action justifiable under the iTunes Terms of Service on Location Based Services?

Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.

You can check out where your iPhone has ‘been’ via the app iPhoneTracker created by Allan and Warden. You just might be surprised where you’ve been.

You can change an option to protect yourself. In iTunes, choose to “Encrypt iPhone Backup” via the preferences, and this will be a temporary measure to hide your data should somebody end up possessing your phone.

[O’Reilly Radar]

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