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Topic # 82106 22-Apr-2011 00:13
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Hey all,

I was told by a friend earlier today that my iPhone was collecting my location and storing it (without permission), as well as sending it to any computer I synchronized with. At first I didn't believe him, a quick Google search proved otherwise. Later on I decided to try and work out an app for Windows (as the initial researchers app only worked on Mac) that would let me see if this was true. In fact, it was. All the location data (from Cell tower location down to Wi-Fi level location) was there (in a sqlite database). I managed to extract it out and made a mash-up in Google Maps. The result looked a little something like the below image. iOS device owners, what do you think about this?


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  Reply # 461496 22-Apr-2011 00:57
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Did you not read the iOS terms and conditions? It certainly wasn't logging data without your permission.



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  Reply # 461497 22-Apr-2011 01:06
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That may be so, but I am posting here to highlight the fact that it is so easily retrievable. Imagine if a virus got that, along with all your emails, txt messages, voicemail and everything else that is stored in there.

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  Reply # 461501 22-Apr-2011 03:05
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codyc1515: That may be so, but I am posting here to highlight the fact that it is so easily retrievable. Imagine if a virus got that, along with all your emails, txt messages, voicemail and everything else that is stored in there.


But they can't because the OS is not open unlike Android and apps have to go through an approval proccess unlike Android. 




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  Reply # 461502 22-Apr-2011 03:08
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Wrong! The data was captured from the backups made by iTunes on the users PC/Mac, but could also occur if your device was jailbroken.

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  Reply # 461503 22-Apr-2011 03:29
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codyc1515: Wrong! The data was captured from the backups made by iTunes on the users PC/Mac, but could also occur if your device was jailbroken.


The data only contains tracking info, not your emails, contact list, messages etc. The OS itself is very secured. You will not find an app which will steal all your personal info on the iOS platform unlike Android (Skype just last week fixed a major bug where anyone could see a user's contact list) because the apps have to go through an approval proccess. 

Apple is not spying on anyone. The data is there prob because it's easier for the OS to pin you down quicker when you are wanting to use the GPS. Only thing they prob need to do is encrypt the file but I don't see any thing alarming here.    




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  Reply # 461504 22-Apr-2011 03:42
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"The data only contains tracking info, not your emails, contact list, messages etc."
Have you actually seen the databases? That information is in there, I have seen it myself.

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  Reply # 461505 22-Apr-2011 04:38
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  Reply # 461509 22-Apr-2011 06:35
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Here's another take on this data.

http://www.willclarke.net/?p=247

Does this ring true with what you see?



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  Reply # 461532 22-Apr-2011 11:02
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Yes EXCEPT if you have wifi at home and gps, it associates the two and you could potentially find out where a user lived based on the WifiLocation database. I'd say more or less it is a caching tool, that's why the initial gps load is so fast and accurate.

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  Reply # 461538 22-Apr-2011 11:15
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Yawn...

Seriously folks. All companies do it, for no better reason than to get accurate results when no GPS or AGPS is available.

Google Maps (Android, Windows Mobile) do it, Bing Maps on Windows Phone 7 do it, all others do it. If you have WiFi on they will collect information about visible WAP, correlate to GPS coordinates and report back to the mother ship.

All this so you folks can check in on Foursquare later with great precision, even when no GPS is available.

The fact it's not an encrypted file, that's the problem. Not that it's been collected.




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  Reply # 461559 22-Apr-2011 12:36
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There is an option in iTunes to encrypt the backup file, but I guess it remains un-encrypted on the device..

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  Reply # 461560 22-Apr-2011 12:36
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*lol* Sorry to laugh out loud but man funny how people didn't realised this is help to speed up with location service for any apps use it... And as Mauricio pointed out, other OSes and devices do it too... nothing surprising..

and it's been included since iOS4 and the file consolidated.db (previously was h-cells.plist).

http://cocoacoding.com/2011/04/21/apple-locationgate-why-issue-bad/




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  Reply # 461561 22-Apr-2011 12:42
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If you want to make money out of it, go with Navizon (www.navizon.com)... I used to run it on my Windows Mobile 6 devices - easy US$15 every week to collect WiFi and GPS data.





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  Reply # 461658 22-Apr-2011 19:03
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FBI should suggest every American use an iOS device. So when they wanna track where the caller is from, they won't need to hold the line for 2 mins or something. LOL

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