iPhone, iPad tracking? Big deal.

Summary:At the Where 2.0 Conference, the discovery of the day was that your iPhone and iPad are tracking your every move.

At the Where 2.0 Conference, the discovery of the day was that your iPhone and iPad are tracking your every move.

Privacy image

(Privacy image by Pongsajapan, CC2.0)

Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden made the find, and noted on the O'Reilly Radar blog:

"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."

There are obviously security issues here — especially since the data is unencrypted and unprotected.

Naturally, this find will create a good bit of hubbub. But I'm trying to keep myself from yawning.

  • Why? People allow their every move to be tracked anyway — willingly.
  • I happen to have GPS set up on my Android device. I have no idea what Google is keeping on me. Cue up the "Dignan, you idiot" talkbacks.
  • I also know that a friend happened to be at Grand Central Station this morning because he checked in on FourSquare and it was blasted to his Twitter feed.
  • Folks use Google Latitude.
  • MobileMe tracks you, too.

OK, I know that there's a small opt-in issue here. But most Apple fans would opt in anyway. Let's face it, Apple isn't your average company. Most of you will like this tracking idea.

In other words, this tracking thing is just a wee bit overblown. You can track anyone and what they are doing these days. So it's a little scary that Apple has a file on you. But you trust your movements with other companies. Why not Apple? Privacy? Forget it. That was so 1980s.

Topics: Apple, iPad, iPhone, Security


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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