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Your iPhone Is Tracking Your Every Move… Well Just About…

There's been a lot of noise in the tech world recently with the discovery of a hidden file of tracking data that is collected on your iPhone wherever you go… so I checked it out for myself…

A couple days ago I read how two guys pretty much accidently came across a hidden file on their iPhone's that tracked their whereabouts while they were plotting out a data mapping for radiation levels in Japan. This just about sent shockwaves through the tech industry which the biggest question being, what the hell is Apple up to and why are they collecting tracking data from everyone's iPhones…

In short, if you have an iPhone whether its a 3GS or iPhone 4, as long as its running IOS4 and up, you ARE being "logged"…

Doesn't seem like much of a big deal? well take a look at this… it is now said that your iPhone will track your position at least twice a day, so it will track you at home, at work or anywhere you shouldn't be because you have no idea when its adding a new entry into its tracking file. Basically what it does is it points your triangular position between three cellphone towers and then logs the longitude and latitude cordinates along with a timestamp… and it keeps a running total for quite a long time (as I've recently found out with my own phone) Now the file isn't easily accessible while its on your phone, however it is automatically backed up to your computer whenever you sync with iTunes… and from there its free game.

Still doesn't sound like a big deal? well lets put that all on a graphical map….

This is an all time snapshot taken from my own phone from July 2010-March 2011 mapped out using a nifty piece of software I got which is now freely available online. 

Basically the darker area's are repetitive logs, for instance, places you go often will be darker and places you visit less frequently are lighter. You can zoom right in and out to check it in more detail. As you can see I spend most of my time in London travelling from Wimbledon to the City and spending most of my time in the city, and you can also see times when I've gone to visit my folks in Ashford, Kent.

It gets better though… here is a video I very simply compiled from the data in the file zoomed out to show as a world map and it shows where I've been on what dates…

Observe…

As you can see I spent some time in London (a lot of activity you obviously can't see since its zoomed out) then at the end of September you can see me take my weekend trip to Cape Town to attend the SA Blog Awards, then in mid December you can see me take a week's trip to New York and then landing up in Iceland due to the snow and then ending off in London again.

Pretty hectic don't you think, and the best part of it, until now we were completely unaware that it was all being logged. Sure we know about location services and the "fun" part of it, as its the basis of how apps like Foursquare and FaceBook Check-in run…but you would have thought "in realtime" not logged, and you kinda had control of it at the end of the day… well as we can see that clearly isn't the case, we don't really have control.

Law suits are now springing up against Apple and its become quite a big story to follow however Apple's CEO Steve Jobs has said that they do not actively monitor the data and at the moment they are putting their story together as to why they started doing this without the general public have clear knowledge that it was happening.

But before all you non-iPhone users get on your high horses, its been said by Mr. Jobs himself that Android phones do the same thing and they do a lot more with the data than Apple use it for. It really wouldn't surprise me at all if Blackberry did the same thing. 

I guess it was only a matter of time before things like this came out into the open, we live in the digital age where security plays a massive role, in London you are already "checkin in" on about 300 or so CCTV cameras every day, so its really not something new.

I guess its just nice to know now, that just when you thought you're aren't being watched… you always are, because who can live without their cellphones these days? :)

So remember kids… Big Brother is watching you…

Have a nice day now :)

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