Keeping tabs on you and your teleworker, too

iPhone can track keystrokes and locations

(Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect the fact that the iKeyGuard is being offered by a third-party and is not endorsed by Apple)

Controversial keystroke recording/logging software as a Big Brother-type tool to monitor teleworkers is by no means a new concept. But now a new iKeyGuard application, offered by a third party, is billed as the first and only app of its kind and available for iPhone, iPad and iPod devices. The iPhone Download Blog highlights it as an “archival” tool to keep an eye on employees, your kids and even your spouse. Apple does not endorse the app.

“Other than bragging rights for your 120-word-per-minute mad typing skills, why would you care?” writes Josh Sawislak on his TeleworkExchange.com blog in response to the notion of recording one’s key movement. “Well, my good friends, it seems that there is a belief among some people -- let’s call them keystrokers -- that this is an excellent way to make sure you are working when you are not in the office,” he adds.

Meanwhile, two scientists have discovered that the iPhone is also tracking your every move via a file named consolidated.db, which acts like a Global Positioning System device. Researchers say the iPhone file contains information about where you go and then stores the unencrypted, unprotected data on another machine that syncs up with your phone, reports ReadWriteWeb. Data is compiled in a longitude- and latitude-type format complete with timestamps, according to RWW. Details of the discovery were scheduled to be presented April 20 at the Where 2.0 conference.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 21, 2011

Just one more reason to not own a smartphone. It is very hard to tell when and what information they're transmitting and to whom.

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 Frank

This is really no different than GM's OnStar system. Let's just keep doing things to make more people more paranoid, shall we?

Thu, Apr 21, 2011

iKeyguard is not an Apple app, furhtermore, you have to "jailbreak" your device to use it.

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 Josh Sawislak Alexandria, VA

Two comments. One, the point I was making in the quoted blog is that recording keystrokes is a poor metric for managers of teleworkers. This technology has existed for years and every TV show and spy movie has someone tracking a person off their cell phone. The second point is that privacy is something that you need to protect if you care about it (or not if you don't). Web searching, social media apps, loyalty cards for stores, and even using a credit card opens you up to violations of your privacy. Only you can decide how far you want to go to protect it or what you are willing to give up to do it.

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 Allen Maryland

This might be the worst article ever. First, the app is not being offered by Apple, contrary to what the article insinuates. Second, from what I can tell, Apple does not even allow this app on the iPhone or iPad. The reason this is true is because from my research it is only available on jailbroken iPhones or iPads - which Apple hates, they even tries to sue to prevent people from jailbreaking their devices.

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