- Storing information since June 2010
- Creates map as soon as you sync
- Can be accessed by anyone with OS X
iPHONE users beware – Steve Jobs knows where you’ve been. Everywhere.
At least, everywhere you’ve carried your iPhone since June last year, which is when Apple rolled out it latest operating system, iOS 4.
Security researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allen broke the story overnight at radar.oreilly.com that ever since iOS 4 arrived on iPhones and iPads, the devices have been recording a list of places and times.
Where you’ve been and when, holding up to a year’s worth of private data that, according to Warden and Allen, isn’t actually private at all.
Because as soon as the device is synced with another – such as a thief’s or workmate’s PC – they have access to the data as well.
The program begins its work as soon as you sync your device with a OS X machine. It then starts scanning all your backup files for signs of locations and times, which it then stores on a map.
Warden and Allen have put together a guide of how to examine the data and how you can remove it.
They say it wouldn’t be huge concern – telcos can access the same information upon being ordered to by a court of law – except for the fact that it is stored in such an easily accessible and readable form.
“Any other program you run or user with access to your machine can look through it,” they say.
“The more fundamental problem is that Apple are collecting this information at all.
“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.”
Apple is yet to respond to any queries about why its devices are storing this information so haphazardly.
Allen and Warden – who worked for Apple for five years – say the only reason they can think of as to why Apple is collecting the information is it may be related to features yet to be announced that require it.
The story broke on the same day as Reuters reported sources claiming the much-anticipated iPhone 5 will ship in September.
Reuters cited three people with direct knowledge of the company’s supply chain.
The new device will have a faster processor but look similar to the current best-selling iPhone 4, the report said.