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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RE[4]: why wait?
by JAlexoid on Fri 22nd Apr 2011 13:24 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: why wait?"
JAlexoid
Member since:
2009-05-19

Is Android open in your opinion (serious question, opinions seem to vary on that)? It does exactly the same thing, only difference it is implemented sanely - it is limited to 50 fixes.

https://github.com/packetlss/android-locdump

Not only sanely, but as secure as possible. You need a rooted device to get to the data. I hope that iOS has some protection against leaking that data.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: why wait?
by Not2Sure on Fri 22nd Apr 2011 20:21 in reply to "RE[4]: why wait?"
Not2Sure Member since:
2009-12-07

Yes, because Android phones are generally not rooted the day of release and pretty much sold with that notion ("their openeness") as a feature, or whatever.

I can't really think of a genuine reason why this geolocation data is useful as a local cache. Ever. Can one of you fanboi apologists for Google/Apple please provide a use case where it makes sense to keep track of previous locations at an OS level?

I could see where some applications might make use of last known locations for ease-of-use features but I'm pretty sure App Store and Android marketplaces would reject out of hand any app that stored this information without first securing the user's permission.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: why wait?
by galvanash on Sat 23rd Apr 2011 04:43 in reply to "RE[5]: why wait?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Can one of you fanboi apologists for Google/Apple please provide a use case where it makes sense to keep track of previous locations at an OS level?


It can take a few seconds to get a gps fix... Until you do get a fix, you have no idea where you are, so any mapping app has to wait idly until the fix is done. Having coordinates of cell towers you recently communicated with let's you get an approximate fix instantly. This can dramatically improve the user experience, because you can instantly set an appropriate zoom level and center the map on the approximate location while waiting for a more accurate gps fix.

The point is gps is not instant - there is latency involved. There is also latency with the mapping API itself (downloading map tiles and such). This let's you hide both latencies.

Also, gps is not always available - especially when indoors. This offers a fallback. Not as accurate, but better than nothing.

You can't get tower location info on demand... You get it when it happens (when the cellular radio picks one up or switches between them). Therefore to actually use the information for this type of purpose you have to log it.

Btw, the geolocation Apis in both iOS and android do all of this stuff for you - it's built into them. Hence why the OS itself does the logging. Apps do not ever read these logs directly, the apis used to get position fixes do that for you (without telling you how the information was derived, it just returns coordinates and an accuracy indicator).


That explain it well enough?

Edited 2011-04-23 05:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: why wait?
by galvanash on Sat 23rd Apr 2011 04:56 in reply to "RE[4]: why wait?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Not only sanely, but as secure as possible. You need a rooted device to get to the data. I hope that iOS has some protection against leaking that data.


you need root to get to it on iOS as well... It's the whole backed-up-copy-on-the-computer that everyone is going gaga over. Android doesn't seem to have that particular issue.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: why wait?
by Not2Sure on Sat 23rd Apr 2011 19:51 in reply to "RE[5]: why wait?"
Not2Sure Member since:
2009-12-07

Vanilla Android has the exact same issue. And just to be clear, iOS 3.x+ and Android since I dunno 1.6 are transmitting your location to their servers. Not just storing them on in the filesystem. iOS does it about once every 24 hours. Android is more frequent.

They are using their customer's location in order to put Skyhook out of business by mapping the MAC addresses of open wifi points around the world. Typical Google/Apple business practices at work. Enter some vertical market and destroy any value in it all to provide "better" ad networks in the future.

The justification remains burying a sentence or two in a EULA to justify user acceptance of the program.

Reply Parent Score: 2