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Oh snap. Question is, who's buying that info from them?
 

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Lord Super Awesome
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Like I said of your FB post....
ALL cell phone locations are logged. Your location is logged by the closest reception tower. Law enforcement uses this info a lot for criminal apprehension. It's today's version of tracing a land line call. For phone company's use, it's to pinpoint call volumes in certain areas to keep up with customer service demand in that area.
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, but a court order is needed for law enforcement to subpoena that information from your carrier. This is an unencrypted file on the phone and desktop backups. Lose your phone or your laptop, and just about anyone can open the file and track you down.

This is a pretty serious privacy breach.
 

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Reverend Secret Flower
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Like I said of your FB post....
ALL cell phone locations are logged. Your location is logged by the closest reception tower. Law enforcement uses this info a lot for criminal apprehension. It's today's version of tracing a land line call. For phone company's use, it's to pinpoint call volumes in certain areas to keep up with customer service demand in that area.
If you watch the video, the guys talk about how there were some points on the list that they never went to.
 

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Squirrel...
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Yes, but a court order is needed for law enforcement to subpoena that information from your carrier. This is an unencrypted file on the phone and desktop backups. Lose your phone or your laptop, and just about anyone can open the file and track you down.

This is a pretty serious privacy breach.
Yeah, the key difference is the data used by law enforcement and 911 is the data sent to your carrier through the towers (including cell tower triangulation and GPS coordinates if your phone supports it) during a call. Your manufacturer (Apple, Motorola, Samsung, etc.) have nothing to do with logging this info.
 

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ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹɐln&#38
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I wonder if it makes a difference if you setup/don't setup "Find My xxxx" in your MobileMe account.
 

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ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹɐln&#38
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Yeah, the key difference is the data used by law enforcement and 911 is the data sent to your carrier through the towers (including cell tower triangulation and GPS coordinates if your phone supports it). Your manufacturer (Apple, Motorola, Samsung, etc.) have nothing to do with logging this info.
If you read into the links, they talk about where this information is logged: right on your computer.

On macs, you go into ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/. There's a folder for your device with a hex type name (I've got 3) and then there are tons of files inside (mine adds up to 345MB).

I don't have Little Snitch installed, but I'd like to think that this 345MB of data is not being sent directly to Apple.

I call shenanigans on that article.
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wonder if it makes a difference if you setup/don't setup "Find My xxxx" in your MobileMe account.
Nope. I downloaded the app and ran it. My phone (and its backup file on my Mac) has location data going all the way back to the day i activated it. I didn't enable "Find My iPhone" until they made it free.

If you read into the links, they talk about where this information is logged: right on your computer.

On macs, you go into ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/. There's a folder for your device with a hex type name (I've got 3) and then there are tons of files inside (mine adds up to 345MB).

I don't have Little Snitch installed, but I'd like to think that this 345MB of data is not being sent directly to Apple.

I call shenanigans on that article.
It's not being transmitted anywhere, and they make that clear. So what purpose it serves is unknown. But the fact that it's being logged and stored on the phone and on a desktop in an unencrypted file is enough to raise red flags over security and privacy.
 

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ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹɐln&#38
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Little Snitch? I've used it in the past but didn't buy it once the demo expired. I don't think I'd be surprised what I'd find with it. I actually deal with troubleshooting Apple servers and have done packet tracing and such in the past.

Have the writer(s) of that news article even seen that kbase article? I think it'd help them figure out everything that's in that Backup folder.
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No, i don't mean Little Snitch. I mean the app they developed that loads up the tracking data on your machine and plots it on a map.

That kbase article likely does not disclose EVERYTHING that's in the backup file.

Read the article i posted again. Only this time actually read it instead of skimming it for the salient points. ;)
 

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ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹɐln&#38
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I think I'll just sit back and just wait for updates on it rather than read it all the way through again. I'm pretty sure lawsuits against Apple will occur since this is a serious subject matter. If it really does track my information and where I've been, then this will most likely change after a lawsuit does occur...well hopefully. At least we'll know for sure once time passes and Apple will get a slap on the wrist.
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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14,796 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here's a direct link to the research that explains it in more detail:

petewarden/iPhoneTracker @ GitHub

What can I do to remove this data?
This database of your locations is stored on your iPhone as well as in any of the automatic backups that are made when you sync it with iTunes. One thing that will help is choosing encrypted backups, since that will prevent other users or programs on your machine from viewing the data, but there will still be a copy on your device.

Why is Apple collecting this information?
It's unclear. One guess might be that they have new features in mind that require a history of your location, but that's pure speculation. The fact that it's transferred across devices when you restore or migrate is evidence the data-gathering isn't accidental.

Is Apple storing this information elsewhere?
There's no evidence that it's being transmitted beyond your device and any machines you sync it with.

What's so bad about this?
The most immediate problem is that this data is stored in an easily-readable form on your machine. Any other program you run or user with access to your machine can look through it.

The more fundamental problem is that Apple are collecting this information at all. Cell-phone providers collect similar data almost inevitably as part of their operations, but it's kept behind their firewall. It normally requires a court order to gain access to it, whereas this is available to anyone who can get their hands on your phone or computer.

By passively logging your location without your permission, Apple have made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements.
 

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Oxygen to CO2 converter
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They have been talking for years about geo based advertising where ads in apps may be specific to your location. Near a Chipotle? You might get a Chipotle ad in whatever app you are using. Or are you near a certain mall all the time, those stores may show up as ads on days you are not near the mall to get you to come to the mall. At a movie theater searching for movie reviews? You may have a coupon ad pop up for a certain movie.

Thats the only reason I can think of for tracking this info on the device itself. Cell towers already track it, so there really isnt a need to unless its for a device specific reason.
 
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