Researcher: Apple iPhone, iPad Tracking User Whereabouts

Thursday, 21 Apr 2011 07:12 AM

 

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Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad track and store the movements of people using the devices, according to a report by O’Reilly Radar.

Apple’s iOS 4 operating system for the iPhone and iPad 3G logs latitude-longitude coordinates along with the time of the visit, according to Alasdair Allan, a senior research fellow in astronomy at the University of Exeter in England, who co-wrote the study with Pete Warden. The findings were posted on the website owned by O’Reilly Media, a Sebastopol, California-based publisher that organizes technology trade conferences.

The tracking, which is likely based on the location of nearby mobile-phone towers, raises security and privacy questions, Allan and Warden wrote. The information, which can total tens of thousands of data points, isn’t encrypted, according to the authors, who were going to present the results today at the Where 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, California.

There’s no evidence the information is being shared, according to the report. Mobile phone carriers have always had access to this information and it takes a court order for it to be accessed, the authors said.

Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.


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