Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Apr 2011 21:59 UTC, submitted by Martin
Apple There's a bit of a stink going on - even in major media - about something iOS 4's been doing. Apparently, iOS 4 has been storing a list of locations and timestamps to a hidden, but readable file in a standard database format. The locations are triangulated using cell towers, and generally aren't as accurate as for instance GPS. Still, the file is stored without any form of protection on both your iPhone as well as your desktop.
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Except they do tell you...
by mrhasbean on Fri 22nd Apr 2011 00:34 UTC
Member since:

In fact they actually get permission to collect it, even though in this case they don't it would seem.

Just more headline grabbing...

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:

Cop-out, and you know it. Location data from GPS: ask permission on the device. Location data from cell towers: get permission buried deep in a text no one reads, a text of questionable legality in many European countries?

The discrepancy here is clear to anyone who isn't stuck deep up the RDF's ass. Expecting people to know the difference between the two techniques - or even that different techniques exist in the first place - is idiotic.

Edited 2011-04-22 00:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

Morgan Member since:

I'm with you on the issue of burying the request for permission in walls of boring and hardly read text: It's despicable.

As for the law enforcement impact of this (nudge nudge), well our guys here in the US still have to get a warrant to search the phone's contents if you don't give them permission to, at least at the level of internal log files and such (there is a gray area regarding what is seen on the screen during a stop-and-frisk). Granted, I'm just a peon so take my word for what it's worth, but this has been the S.O.P. at both agencies I've worked at: One warrant to physically seize the device, and another to search its contents. It's a CYA move so the evidence isn't successfully challenged.

All that said, I can readily see three types of cases where such location data would be worth pursuing, and one isn't even criminal. First is a murder case where the suspect's phone would give clues to the path he took leading up to, during and after the murder. Another would be a drug enforcement investigation, where an accused dealer's phone records could corroborate an undercover agent's movement and activity reports. And finally, in a divorce case where one spouse wants to prove the other was unfaithful. I'm sure there are many other creative ways law enforcement can use this info against suspects, and plaintiffs can use it against defendants in civil court.

I also read this morning in an article on this subject that a company in New York has already assisted police with mining this data from phones and backup files, and has been doing so for a little while.

I personally am not affected as I doubt I'll own an iDevice in the foreseeable future; I loathe both Verizon and AT&T, and have no need or desire for an iPad, 3G or no. However, I am mildly alarmed at the implications, and I wonder how long it will take Apple to fix this issue.

Reply Parent Score: 2

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:

In fact they actually get permission to collect it, even though in this case they don't it would seem.

"Interesting" position for you take, given all of your past whining about how Android is insecure because there's no draconian app store approval process restricting what software can be installed on it.

From a comment you posted back in March:

And if you were all grow'd up with teenage kids of your own and you were the one paying the bills for the masses of excess data that those lovely malware apps could wrack up you might just change your tune. ( )

So let's re-cap. A mobile device that puts you at risk of extra data charges due to your children/s use? UNACCEPTABLE!!! But a device that tracks & records all of their movements by GPS and potentially makes that information available to third parties? Meh, that's okay, as long it's mentioned somewhere in the 8,000 words of legalese that you "I Agree'd" to without reading.

Damn! Where do I nominate you for Parent Of The Year?

Just more headline grabbing...

Yet we all know you'd be practically soiling yourself in delight if this story were about Android, you've already done so in the past (over significantly less-serious issues):

Just goes to show... dangerous it is to allow unchecked applications onto a device that has constant and unrestricted access to global data networks. ( )

Could your fanboyism be *any* more transparent?

Reply Parent Score: 3