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Thread: Apple is tracking YOU: iPhone Keeps Record of Everywhere You Go

  1. #1

    Apple is tracking YOU: iPhone Keeps Record of Everywhere You Go

    Charles Arthur
    London Guardian
    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Security researchers have discovered that Apple‘s iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner’s computer when the two are synchronised.

    The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone’s recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner’s movements using a simple program.

    For some phones, there could be almost a year’s worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple’s iOS 4 update to the phone’s operating system, released in June 2010.

    “Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you’ve been,” said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.

    Full story here.


  2. #2

    Lawmakers demand answers from Apple about iPhone tracking

    David Edwards
    Raw Story
    April 22, 2011

    Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) have sent letters to Apple CEO Steve Jobs demanding to know why Apple’s products are keeping a log of every place the owner goes.

    Researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden*revealed Wednesday that Apple’s iPads and iPhones contain a database with thousands of location points that gets downloaded every time the device syncs with a PC or Mac.

    The unencrypted file, named “consolidated.db,” seems to be first created when user downloads and installs iOS 4 software to the device. It includes latitude, longitude, a time stamp, and the IP address for the wireless network the phone was currently accessing.

    Because the location is derived from cell phone towers instead of GPS, the researchers speculated that the feature could not be disabled without completely turning off the device.

    This seems to contradict a*letter to Markey (PDF) last year where Apple stated that “users could “turn ‘off’ all location-based service capabilities with a single ‘on/off’ switch.”

    Full article here


  3. #3

    Got IPhone? Warning!!!

    This article from CNN warns us of the iphones capacity to track your every move.. opting out is difficult. You are being tracked right now!

    Why did iphone do this? Who paid them to do it? how do you get rid of it?
    the webpage will show you on video how iphone actually maps your every move.[/COLOR]


    (CNN) -- News that iPhones and iPad 3Gs apparently collect continuous information about the whereabouts of their users and store that data in a secret file has lots of Apple fans worried about their privacy.
    Two researchers on Wednesday unveiled the details of this secret file, called "consolidated.db," which stores location info going back to June 2010. That's when Apple updated its mobile operating system, called iOS, to version 4.0.
    Apple hasn't commented on these allegations, and it appears the company does not have continuous access to this location data, according to the researchers, one of whom says he is a former Apple employee.
    All of this may be confusing for iPhone owners, especially since this news terrifies some and seems like a lot of fun to others. To help clear things up, here's a quick round-up of what you need to know about iPhone tracking and your security:
    How does the iPhone collect this location data?
    It uses cell phone towers to triangulate an approximate location. This isn't as accurate as GPS, which uses satellites to pinpoint a phone's whereabouts.
    How often is a location recorded?
    At seemingly random intervals, but fairly often, according to Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, the researchers and journalists who publicized this secret location file.

    iPhone tracking your movements? Where is this data stored?
    On the mobile device and on the computer the device is synced to.
    Who has access to it?
    In theory, only you. Apple does not appear to have access to this data, at least not on a real-time basis, according to the researchers. So it appears the company doesn't know where you are right now.

    Mobile phone companies also collect this type of data, but, as the researchers point out, that data "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."
    The location file is unencrypted, so anyone with access to your phone or computer could, in theory, get access to it and know where you've been. The researchers, in their report, say Apple has "made it possible for anyone from a jealous spouse to a private investigator to get a detailed picture of your movements."
    Could someone steal this data?
    It's possible someone could look at this file and know where you've been since June. But they would have to gain access to your phone or your computer, where the consolidated.db file is stored.
    The researchers see little risk in this, but they note that there are more questions than answers when it comes to who can see this stuff and why it's collected and stored on phones and computers in the first place.
    They write: "Don't panic. ... There's no immediate harm that would seem to come from the availability of this data. Nor is there evidence to suggest this data is leaving your custody. But why this data is stored and how Apple intends to use it -- or not -- are important questions that need to be explored."
    What if I want to see a map of all the places I've been?
    Some people are having fun looking at maps of where they've been over the course of 10 months. The researchers who publicized this file also created an open-source program called iPhone Tracker, which is free for download and can be used to create a map of everywhere you've been since the tracking started.
    Which gadgets collect this location info?
    Only iPhones and iPads that have 3G connections and have been updated to operating system 4.0 or later. To see which version of iOS is running on your phone, click on the "Settings" app, then choose "General" and then "About." Halfway down the page you'll see a number next to the word "Version." That's the iOS version that's currently running on your phone or iPad.
    It's unclear if this type of file is stored on iPhones on Verizon's network or on Android smartphones. The researchers say they're looking into it.
    Can I stop this information from being collected?
    It's not easy. You can delete this data from your computer, making it less likely a hacker or trolling family member would access it.
    To find the file, follow this pathway on your machine: /Users/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backups/
    But, the researchers warn, this file will be updated again every time you sync your phone to a computer. So deleting the data is an arduous task.
    People who jailbreak their phones -- read more about jailbreaking here if you're not familiar -- can download a new app called Untrackerd, which claims to delete the consolidated.db file as it's created. That app is available from the Cydia app store, which is not sanctioned by Apple.
    What else can I do if I'm worried about this?
    The researchers suggest encrypting your data through iTunes. This makes it more difficult for anyone with access to your computer to steal this data.
    To do this, open iTunes, plug in your iPhone or iPad and click on the device name when it shows up in the "Devices" category on the left side of the screen.
    On the device's home screen, scroll down to the "Options" menu and click the box that says "Encrypt iPhone Backup."
    A note from Apple on this: "Encrypted backups are indicated by a padlock icon (as visible below in the Deleting a Backup section), and a password is required to restore the information to iPhone."
    Is everyone upset about the tracking file?
    No. Plenty of people, especially in the tech elite, think it's fun to use the iPhone Tracker program to see a map of where they've been recently.
    They point out that cell phone companies already collect this data. This just makes it accessible to users, if they want to see it.
    Who discovered this file and how did they do it?
    Allan and Warden, two researchers and writers, say they came across it while working on a data visualization about the Japan earthquake.
    From their site: "We'd been discussing doing a visualization of mobile data, and while he was researching into what was available, Alasdair discovered this file. At first we weren't sure how much data was there, but after we dug further and visualized the extracted data, it became clear that there was a scary amount of detail on our movements. It also became obvious that at least some other people knew about it, but it wasn't being publicized."
    They also posted a video about the experience.
    They're not the first to come across this, but they were the first to grab the public's attention with this information. Some bloggers have pointed out that other versions of Apple's iOS stored similar files, but they were harder to find.
    Why would Apple collect and store this info on phones and computers?
    It's unclear. The company hasn't commented. But some bloggers and the researchers themselves speculate they could be looking toward future applications for phones. From the researchers:
    "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," they write.
    Did they share this information with Apple?
    The researchers say they did, but they haven't heard back. Apple has not responded to CNN's requests for comment, either.
    U.S. Sen. Al Franken also has written a letter to Apple expressing concern and asking for answers to a few key questons about this file, such as why it's stored in an unencrypted format.

  4. #4

    IT’S OFFICIAL: Apple Has Brainwashed The Whole Country — How Else To Explain The Lack Of Outrage Over Apple’s Secret Location Tracking?

    Henry Blodget
    Business Insider
    April 23, 2011

    Your iPhone has been*secretly tracking and recording everywhere you go for the past several years.

    Read that again.

    Your iPhone has been secretly tracking and recording everywhere you go for the past several years.

    That’s right. Apple built this feature into your iPhone and hid it from you. By doing so, Apple made it possible for anyone who gets ahold of your iPhone or Mac (or any other device synced with either) to figure out exactly where you were when.

    That is absolutely outrageous.

    If any other company had done this, America’s privacy zealots would be demanding the CEO’s resignation. There would be threats. There would be lawsuits. There would, at the very least, be incessant demands for the company to acknowledge the behavior, explain it, and apologize for it.

    And yet, because the company is Apple, there have been none of those things.

    Instead, Apple fans like John Gruber have suggested that the*secret feature is a “bug.“* And there have been mainstream media stories suggesting that it must be some kind of “mistake.”



    Apple built a system into your iPhone that secretly tracks and records everywhere you go.* This system records your exact location and the exact time you were there–down to the second.

    Anyone who gets ahold of your phone or computer can tell exactly where you were when: Police, people suing you, your husband/wife, your employer, private investigators, the government–anyone. And Apple didn’t tell you that!

    Please explain, with a straight face, how that could possibly be a “bug” or “mistake.”

    And let’s say hypothetically that it actually*was a mistake.* That Apple didn’t*mean to build that system that tracks and records everywhere you go and then keep it a secret. Let’s say, hypothetically, that it was some rogue Apple engineer who built that system into iOS without telling his or her superiors and that Apple has only recently discovered it.

    Well, then, Apple should already have come forward, apologized profusely, explained that the engineer has now been summarily dismissed, and offered a software update that eliminates the tracking system forever.

    Has Apple done that?

    Heck no!

    Apple hasn’t even*acknowledged the problem, let alone apologize for it or do something about it.

    This alone should make clear to everyone that it wasn’t a “mistake.”

    Again:*Your Apple iPhone has been secretly tracking and recording everywhere you go for the past several years.

    If that news doesn’t outrage you and make you furious at Apple–both for doing it in the first place and then for not acknowledging that they’re doing it and explaining why–there’s only one explanation for why it doesn’t.

    Apple has so mesmerized you that you live in the reality distortion field.


  5. #5

    No Place to Hide: Internet Tracking Probe Unveiled as New Smartphone Spy Scandal Unwinds

    Antifascist Calling…
    April 25, 2011

    As the United States morphs into a failed state, one unwilling and soon perhaps, unable, to provide for the common good even as it hands over trillions of dollars to a gang of financial brigands engorged like parasitic ticks on the wealth of others, keeping the lid on is more than just an imperial obsession: it’s big business.

    Earlier this month,*New Scientist reported that “a new way of working out where you are by looking at your internet connection could pin down your current location to within a few hundred metres.”

    Although similar techniques are already in use, they are not very accurate in terms of closing the surveillance trap. “Every computer connected to the web has an internet protocol (IP) address, but there is no simple way to map this to a physical location,” reporter Jacob Aron informs us. “The current best system can be out by as much as 35 kilometres.”

    However, Yong Wang, “a computer scientist at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu, and colleagues at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, have used businesses and universities as landmarks to achieve much higher accuracy.”

    According to*New Scientist, “Wang’s team used Google Maps to find both the web and physical addresses of such organisations, providing them with around 76,000 landmarks. By comparison, most other geolocation methods only use a few hundred landmarks specifically set up for the purpose.”

    With geolocation tracking devices embedded in smartphones (and, as we’ll see below, this data is stored without their users’ consent), all of which is happily turned over to authorities by telecoms (for the right price, of course!), as privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian*revealed in 2009, it becomes abundantly clear that sooner than most people think they’ll be no escaping Big Brother’s electronic dragnet.

    “The new method,” Aron writes, “zooms in through three stages to locate a target computer.” First, the team of public-private financed research snoops measured “the time it takes to send a data packet to the target and converts it into a distance–a common geolocation technique that narrows the target’s possible location to a radius of around 200 kilometres.”

    Wang and his cohorts then “send data packets to the known Google Maps landmark servers in this large area to find which routers they pass through.”*New Scientist*reports that when “a landmark machine and the target computer have shared a router, the researchers can compare how long a packet takes to reach each machine from the router; converted into an estimate of distance, this time difference narrows the search down further.”

    “We shrink the size of the area where the target potentially is,” Wang cheerfully explained.

    “Finally,” Aron writes, “they repeat the landmark search at this more fine-grained level: comparing delay times once more, they establish which landmark server is closest to the target.”

    “On average,” we’re told, “their method gets to within 690 metres of the target and can be as close as 100 metres–good enough to identify the target computer’s location to within a few streets.”

    While*New Scientist*focused their attention on how an IP address tracking tool might be a boon to advert pimps, who*elsemight find the method “useful in certain situations”?

    Tightening the Surveillance Noose

    Back in December,*The Wall Street Journal reported that “few devices know more personal details about people than the smartphones in their pockets: phone numbers, current location, often the owner’s real name–even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off.”

    As part of the*Journal’s*excellent*“What They Know” series, reporters Scott Thurm and Yukari Iwatani Kane revealed that an examination of more than 100 smartphone apps for Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms “showed that 56 transmitted the phone’s unique device ID to other companies without users’ awareness or consent,” 47 apps “transmitted the phone’s location in some way,” and “five sent age, gender and other personal details to outsiders.”

    Like the*New Scientist*report above, the*Journal*focused their investigative lens on “intrusive effort[s] by online-tracking companies to gather personal data about people in order to flesh out detailed dossiers on them.”

    Without a doubt, such data is already being collected by various police intelligence agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

    In all likelihood, smartphone geolocation data has now been added to the dossier creation mix, another component of the secret state’s massive national security index called “Main Core” by investigative journalists*Christopher Ketchum and*Tim Shorrock.

    As Ketchum reported in his 2008 piece, three unnamed former intelligence officials told him that “8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect” and, in the event of a national emergency, “could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and even detention.”

    We’ve now learned that Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Google’s Android smartphone platforms “constantly track users’ physical location and store the data in unencrypted files that can be read by anyone with physical access to the device,”*The Registerdisclosed.

    And with technological advances far-outstripping legal remedies to protect Americans’ privacy as Soghoian*wrote last week, and with Congress and the Obama administration further lowering the boom, the notion that our personal communications are off-limits to advertisers and government officials is as quaint as the concept that financial institutions should be transparent when it comes to investing our hard-earned dollars.

    According to researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allen, who first reported their findings on the*iPhone Tracker blog, the geolocation file is stored on both the iOS device and “any computers that store backups of its data,” and “can be used to reconstruct a detailed snapshot of the user’s comings and goings, down to the second.”

    The researchers aver that despite Apple’s refusal to even acknowledged the existence of these files, or frankly what the firm does with the data once its been downloaded to their servers, users of iPhones and iPads are put at risk that their movements are available to any and all comers with the requisite skills to access their information.

    “The most immediate problem is that this data is stored in an easily-readable form on your machine,” Warden and Allen wrote.

    “Any other program you run or user with access to your machine can look through it. 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.”

    Needless to say, such information would be a boon to police agencies seeking to “terminate with extreme prejudice” the ability of protest organizers to communicate with demonstrators, as happened during the G20 protests in Pittsburgh, as*Antifascist Calling reported in 2009.

    Elliot Madison was arrested after he relayed a police order to disperse message via Twitter to demonstrators during the protests. A week later, his New York City home was raided by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (!) which carted off his computers and cell phone as “evidence.” Madison and co-defendant Michael Wallschlaeger were criminally charged with using computers, cell phones and a police scanner to track the movements of “Pittsburgh’s finest.” Federal prosecutors charged the activists with “hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility, and possession of instruments of crime.”

    While such repressive acts may have raised eyebrows two years ago, they have now become part of the seamless panopticon spreading across the “shining city on a hill” like an invisible swarm of privacy-killing locusts.

    Last week, in the wake of the smartphone tracking scandal,CNET News reported that “law enforcement agencies have known since at least last year that an iPhone or iPad surreptitiously records its owner’s approximate location, and have used that geolocation data to aid criminal investigations.”

    Security journalist Declan McCullagh revealed that although “Apple has never publicized the undocumented feature buried deep within the software that operates iPhones and iPads,” the secretive Mountain View firm acknowledged to Congress last year that “cell tower and Wi-Fi access point information” is “intermittently” collected and “transmitted to Apple” every 12 hours.

    CNET reported that “phones running Google’s Android OS also store location information,” according to Swedish programer Magnus Eriksson. Another researcher told McCullagh that “‘virtually all Android devices’ send some of those coordinates back to Google.”

    “Among computer forensics specialists,” CNET avers, “those location logs–which record nearby cell tower coordinates and time stamps and cannot easily be disabled by someone who wants to use location services–are not merely an open secret. They’ve become a valuable sales pitch when targeting customers in police, military, and intelligence agencies.”

    In other words, enterprising grifters from niche security firms servicing the secret state–or anyone willing to pay for their unique services, say a dodgy employer, a jealous spouse or a sociopathic freak for that matter–can take advantage of a smartphone’s embedded location files.

    CNET reported that the “U.K-based company Forensic Telecommunications Services advertises its iXAM product as able to ‘extract GPS location fixes’ from an iPhone 3GS including ‘latitude, longitude, altitude and time’.”

    “Its literature boasts,” McCullagh writes, that “‘these are confirmed fixes–they prove that the device was definitely in that location at that time’.”

    “Another mobile forensics company, Cellebrite,” CNET avers, even “brags that its products can pluck out geographical locations derived from both ‘Wi-Fi and cell tower’ signals, and a third lists Android devices as able to yield ‘historical location data’ too.”

    Just last week,*The Tech Herald disclosed that the Michigan State Police have been using a handheld device and “secretly extracting information from cell phones during traffic stops,” and have refused to release information on this program to the ACLU.

    The Tech Herald*reports that for “nearly three years, the ACLU has attempted to get the Michigan State Police (MSP) to answer questions over their use of Cellebrite’s UFED Physical Pro scanner.”

    “The handheld device allows police to extract data from phones and SIM memory,” journalist Steve Ragan writes, and that “in addition to the normal information, such as contact lists, email, and text messages, the UFED is also able to recover hidden and deleted data.”

    Manufactured by security outfit*Cellebrite, the company boasts that their “mobile forensics products enable extraction and analysis of invaluable evidentiary data including deleted and hidden data for military, law enforcement, governments, and intelligence agencies across the world,” according to a blurb on their web site.

    The ACLU*charges that the device is routinely used during traffic stops and that state troopers were able to access the mobile devices without their users being aware their data was being grabbed.

    In their letter to the MSP, the ACLU cautioned that “The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches. With certain exceptions that do not apply here,” the civil liberties watchdogs averred, “a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity.”

    “A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched.”

    Sounds reasonable, right? The MSP responded by demanding the ACLU fork over $544,680 before they’d even consider releasing these*public*documents!

    But as Cryptohippie reported in their excellent study,*The Electronic Police State, “two crucial facts about the information gathered under an electronic police state are these: 1. It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial. 2. It is gathered universally (‘preventively’) and only later organized for use in prosecutions.”

    “In an Electronic Police State,” researchers averred, “every surveillance camera recording, every email sent, every Internet site surfed, every post made, every check written, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all*criminal evidence, and all are held in searchable databases. The individual can be prosecuted whenever the government wishes.”

    Called a “Universal Forensic Extraction Device,” Cellebrite claims their “UFED family of products is able to extract and analyze data from more than 3000 phones, including smartphones and GPS devices.”

    According to the firm, such tools will prove invaluable to secret state snoops. “Diving deeper into a mobile phone’s memory than ever before provides them with the ability to gather data and establish connections between networks and people that is quicker and easier to arrive at.”

    The secret-spilling web site*Cryptome has generously provided us with with Cellebrite’s*Smartphone PDA Spy Guide. Amongst other things, we’re told that the firm’s “UFED Forensics system empowers law enforcement, anti-terror and security organizations to capture critical forensic evidence from mobile phones, Smartphones and PDAs.”

    “UFED,” we’re informed, “extracts vital data such as phonebook, camera pictures, videos, audio, text messages (SMS), call logs, ESN IMEI, ICCID and IMSI information from over 1,600 handset models, including Symbian, Microsoft Mobile, Blackberry and Palm OS devices.”

    Think you’ve erased those messy call logs or text messages to your girl- or boyfriend? Better think again! With Cellebrite on the job, “the UFED can extract data from a phone, or directly from the SIM card. When extracting from phone, the UFED connects to the phone via cable, Bluetooth or infrared, and the data is read logically from the phone. It also performs a physical extraction from SIM cards, allowing extraction of additional data such as deleted SMS, ICCID, IMSI, location information and more.”

    We’re told that the company’s UFED “helps intelligence agencies widen their view and form a complete picture with access to content that can be repurposed, analyzed, and linked to information existing in databases,” Main Core, or a similar national security index, perhaps?

    “For us, people look like little particles…”

    While digital technologies advance by leaps and bounds, the Empire’s political-economic requirements are determining how new devices will be used, who has access to the data points and, once our personal details are extracted–by corporations or shadowy intel outfits (public and private) who do their bidding–what happens to it once it’s been stored in giant data farms.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are conducting a study that “has tracked 60 families living in campus quarters via sensors and software on their smartphones–recording their movements, relationships, moods, health, calling habits and spending.”

    “In this wealth of intimate detail,” reporter Robert Lee Hotz writes, MIT researcher Alex Pentland “is finding patterns of human behavior that could reveal how millions of people interact at home, work and play.”

    According to preliminary findings, “the data can predict with uncanny accuracy where people are likely to be at any given time in the future,” and the data “can reveal subtle symptoms of mental illness, foretell movements in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and chart the spread of political ideas as they move through a community much like a contagious virus, research shows.”

    “Advances in statistics, psychology and the science of social networks are giving researchers the tools to find patterns of human dynamics too subtle to detect by other means,” theJournal*reports.

    At Northeastern University in Boston for example, “network physicists discovered just how predictable people could be by studying the travel routines of 100,000 European mobile-phone users.”

    “After analyzing more than 16 million records of call date, time and position,” Hotz reports, “the researchers determined that, taken together, people’s movements appeared to follow a mathematical pattern,” and that given enough information about past movements, scientists averred “they could forecast someone’s future whereabouts with 93.6% accuracy.”

    Chillingly, Northeastern physicist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, who conducted the study, told the*Journal: “For us, people look like little particles that move in space and that occasionally communicate with each other. We have turned society into a laboratory where behavior can be objectively followed.”

    Ruthless “objectivity” such as this have real world consequences, not that it matters to those whose butter their bread by bludgeoning our privacy and cratering our political rights.

    “As a reward when the [MIT] experiment was done,” the*Journallaconically observed, “the students were allowed to keep the smartphones used to monitor them.”


  6. #6

    Your Cellphone Has Been Tracking You For Nearly a Decade

    Forget the iPhone scandal, the FCC mandated that all wireless carriers be able to locate their users way back in October 2001

    Image: Wikimedia Commons

    Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
    Prison Planet.com
    Monday, April 25, 2011

    The controversy generated as a result of computer researchers discovering a hidden file that allows Apple to track the location of iPhone and iPad users has been treated as a shocking revelation by the media, and yet since October 2001, the FCC has mandated that all wireless carriers track the location of their users down to within 50 feet.

    “Stunned iPhone and iPad owners have only just found out that all of their movements are tracked and stored in a hidden iOS file which gets synced to their PC every time they connect the phone,” reports Gadgets and Gizmos. “The name of the file is Consolidated.db and it uses the Apple devices’ GPS function to record your location and the time you were there.”

    The secret file was found by computer experts and made public at the recent Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

    The Wall Street Journal expanded on the revelations surrounding Apple on Friday by reporting that Google’s Android smart phones also, “Regularly transmit their locations back to…Google, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.”

    Technology writers are seemingly baffled as to why top smart phone producers like Apple and Google are tracking the movements of their users, while lawmakers have also begun asking questions of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

    A bizarre initial reaction to the story from some quarters of the media and industry centered around the suggestion that the hidden file was “actually a bug which Apple should be looking to fix,” a theory dismissed almost instantly after it was confirmed other smart phone manufacturers were also tracking their users and that such efforts were “clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations.”

    Indeed, as much as a year ago Apple admitted to the fact that it “intermittently” collects location data, including GPS coordinates, of many iPhone users and nearby Wi-Fi networks and transmits that data to itself every 12 hours, according to a letter the company sent to U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas),” reports the WSJ.

    Google’s HTC Android phones collect location data every few minutes and transmit that information directly to Google several times an hour, including the unique phone identifier, meaning that Google can keep tabs on the movement of a known individual almost constantly. Since people now ubiquitously carry their cellphones everywhere they go, this is akin to having a tracking microchip implanted in your forehead.

    However, far from being a recent phenomenon, as the media would have us believe, tracking of individuals via their cellphones has been going on for almost ten years at least.

    Under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the FCC mandated that by October 1, 2001 a quarter of all new cellphones be equipped with GPS functionality that would allow authorities to track the location of users. By the end of 2002, this became a mandatory requirement of all new cellphones.

    As Geek.com reported back in October 2001, “Because cellphone calls to 911 (estimated at around 140,000 per year) do not give the 911 operator location information, the FCC mandated that wireless companies “be able to locate 67 percent of callers to 911 within 50 meters that elect the handset solution while those using network technology must be able to locate the caller within 100 meters.” Wireless companies must also have one-quarter of the new cellphones they offer equipped to provide that location information by the end of the year, and all new cellphones so equipped by the end of next year.”

    As a PC World article written in August 2001, two months before the first phase of the new FCC rules were enacted, asked, “The FCC requires cell phone companies to track you, in order to find you when you call 911–but what about your privacy?”

    “Cell phone tracking was propelled by the Federal Communications Commission, which adopted enhanced 911 rules to cover wireless services. For E911′s first phase, cellular carriers must be able to pinpoint, to the nearest cell tower, the location of someone calling 911. For Phase II, carriers must be able to pinpoint a 911 caller’s location to within 50 to 300 meters,” states the article.

    Your cellphone has been tracking you in real time for the lion’s share of the last decade, so why has it taken the media nearly 10 years to notice? Because in 2001, when such measures could have been made illegal, there was no iPhone, there was no app store, and the smart phones being used were extremely crude compared to today’s models, which are no less than mini-laptops.

    In 2001, cellphones did little else than make calls and send text messages – these services didn’t require GPS technology. People weren’t addicted to their cellphones like they are today, they didn’t use them to catalogue, record and process every aspect of their existence.

    The likes of Apple have worked hard over the last decade to make hundreds of millions of people dependent on their gadgets, creating an army of addicts who couldn’t care less that their cellphone is transmitting their every move directly to Steve Jobs. In their eyes, the choice between sacrificing their privacy and sacrificing their precious “apps” is an easy one to make. Privacy can’t book a table at a restaurant in a few taps of a finger, nor can it tell you the weather forecast or where the nearest ATM is located.

    If the debate had been allowed to run its course in 2001, when cellphone tracking was first being adopted, the outcome may have been different. But since cellphone companies have been tracking their users for the best part of a decade, in line with government mandates, the recent controversy is merely part of the acclimatization process to achieve calm subservience and acceptance of the fact that true privacy is dead, and as Henry Blodget explains, Apple’s omnipresent brainwashing campaign has helped keep the outrage to a minimum.


    Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.


  7. #7

    Untrackerd App Stops iOS GPS Storing Tracking Data On Your iPhone

    Julian Horsey
    Geeky Gadgets
    April 27, 2011

    If you are a little*concerned*about the data being stored on your iPhone regards your wear abouts, a new*application*has been published to the Cydia app store for jailbroken iPhones, that now*allows you to remove the data*contained*in the*consolidated.db file.

    To start the cleaning process simply*download*and load on to your iPhone. The*application installs a small process which runs in the background to clean consolidated.db file. No new icons are added to your homescreen and there are no options to configure.

    The new application has been developed by*Ryan Petrich and has been designed for people that are a little concerned about the*location data stored on their iPhones.*Untrackerd is*available for free on the Cydia jailbreak store.


  8. #8

    Jobs Tries to Calm iPhone Imbroglio

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Apple Inc. is scaling back how much information its iPhones store about where they have been and said it will stop collecting such data when consumers request it, as the company tries to quell concerns it was tracking iPhone owners.

    But Apple’s statements, after a week of silence on the growing controversy, raised new questions and criticism about its data-handling practices. Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas) said Apple apparently “lied” to him and another lawmaker last year when it said its phones don’t collect and transmit location-based data when location services such as mapping are turned off.

    Apple defended the process it uses to gather location information via the iPhone and unveiled a software update to scale back such practices.

    Apple said Wednesday it would fix software “bugs” that let each phone build a database of locations stretching back months, even when related services are disabled by the user.

    Full story here.


  9. #9

    Apple Lied: Filed Patent for Mobile Device Tracking

    Apple's claim that the geolocation tracking of its customers via a stealth file maintained in devices running the iOS operating system are, well, "patently" false.

    The stealth iOS file records geolocation information derived from triangulating the location of a device using the signals from the closest cell phone transmission towers and Wi-Fi access points. The data is continuously collected and recorded regardless of whether the user has chosen to disable location services features on their mobile device.

    Apple released a statement earlier this week that claims the data collection is caused by a software bug that will be remediated in a soon to be issued update to the iOS. Apple admitted that the information was being sent to the company, but they maintain that they are unable to trace the data a particular phone or user.

    Apple CEO Steve Jobs even stated directly that "We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false."

    Reports have now surfaced that demonstrate these assurances are false.

    Apple filed for a patent in September of 2009 titled "Location Histories for Location Aware Devices" with the intent to develop services based around the company's ability to locate and track mobile devices running the iOS operating system.

    The abstract of the patent reads as follows:


  10. #10

    Smartphones: The Tracking and Surveillance of Millions of Americans

    As Smartphone Scandal Grows, Tech Firms Run for Cover, Reap Windfall Profits

    Recent revelations that Apple's iPhone and iPad, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating systems collect, store and transmit records of users' physical locations to central databases--secretly, and without consent--have ignited a firestorm over Americans' privacy rights in an age of hypersurveillance.

    And with a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Florida by two iPhone users, The Register reports, Apple guru Steve Jobs was forced to respond to complaints after the firm's usual tactic--deafening silence--failed to assuage customer's anxieties.

    The lawsuit alleges that "irreparable injury has resulted and continues to result from Apple's unauthorized tracking of millions of Americans," plaintiffs Vikram Ajjampur and William Devito averred. They are requesting their case be granted class-action status, a move likely to send shudders along the silicon spine of the secretive Cupertino high-tech powerhouse.

    In response to the outcry, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple "is scaling back how much information its iPhones store about where they have been and said it will stop collecting such data when consumers request it, as the company tries to quell concerns it was tracking iPhone owners."

    But as journalists Yukari Iwatani Kane and Jennifer Valentino-Devries point out, "a week of silence on the growing controversy, raised new questions and criticism about its data-handling practices."

    The ecumenical nature of the smartphone spying scandal tapped another firm, beloved by Wall Street grifters and national security mavens alike, on the shoulders last week.


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