Apple iPhone Tracking Device Raises Privacy Issues

The New York Times reports that a hidden file on the Apple iPhone 4 and iPad 3G is has been found to regularly track and store GPS data regarding a user’s location. This stored information is also transmitted to the iTunes application when a user syncs or backs up these 3G-enabled Apple devices.

These privacy findings were made by two programmers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, who presented their discovery at the location-oriented O’Reilly Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

“The presence of this data on your iPhone, your iPad, and your backups has security and privacy implications,” Mr. Allan wrote in a blog post on the O’Reilly Radar Web site.

The programmers conveyed to iOS owners that there is no reason to panic yet, but wonders how Apple intends to use the stored information.

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While a cellphone owner’s location information has always been stored by cellular carriers, this data has previously only been accessible through a court order approved by a judge. With the discovery that Apple has made this file visible and unencrypted on iOS devices, the fear is that anyone who gains access to the phone can retrieve this private information.

There has been no response from Apple at this time.

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