Privacy Woes: iPhone and iPad Secretly Track and Record Your Whereabouts

apple iphone track movements
Privacy concern: Apple tracks your movement – secretly

Small Business Owner: Are you using Apple iPhone for your day-to-day business operations? If so, beware – you’ve been secretly tracked! A hidden data file found in Apple’s iOS4 devices, such as iPhone and 3G iPad, tracks and records your movement without you knowing it.

As reported by WebProNews, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden – both data scientists – have discovered some sort of tracking database file called consolidated.db in devices that operate on iOS 4, such as your iPhone and 3G iPad. They said that the tracking started since the iOS 4 update.

The file contains your device’s latitude and longitude coordinates along with timestamps – all you need to track someone’s position in any given time. The file can store plenty of data, enough to track your movement for a year (!)

Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden tweet about their findings on their Twitter account (@aallan and @peterwarden)

Please watch this video on how they discovered the tracking database file and what the file can do:

Pretty worrying. Despite the data is not being sent over to Apple or anywhere else (no evidence that the data is leaving the device – yet,) the data stored on your iPhone is not secured and easily accessed. Your mobile providers could access this data, but in the US they would require court orders to access. Now what about iPhone and 3G iPad users in regions that such regulation is not even exist?

For more information regarding the finding, please read Alasdair Allan’s article on O’Reilly Radar

So what the tracking is for?

This is yet to be discovered. But you could use the file for your business benefits, such as tracking your fleets, tracking your employees’ whereabouts (I know – no fun!) and some other usages, such as criminal investigation.

If you are a business owner who is in an investigative mood, you can use an application that can display the hidden file’s content on maps – so you can see where the Apple devices you tracked have traveled. Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden have created a free, open source application, iPhone Tracker, for this purpose.

Privacy is indeed a major problem today… I’m eager to know what Apple has got to say about this controversial file.

Ivan Widjaya
Getting stalked by iPhone’s hidden database file