iPhone tracking: How serious is it?

Experts debate the importance

Just how serious is the iPhone' tracking of users' movements and storing the Global Positioning System-like information in an unprotected file?

 After researchers presented their findings April 20, it was determined that the location tracking isn't harmless, but its accuracy seems to depend on on an area's cell phone reception, reports the Register.

"Apple is not storing the device's location, it's storing the location of the towers that the device is communicating with," blogger and Web developer Will Clarke told the Register. Some other researchers disagreed with that conclusion.

It was also noted that the time intervals that the locations were logged were inconsistent, leaving days without database updates, the article states. Despite the inaccuracies, the scientists said that the file contains a "scary amount of detail of our movements." They were able to confirm locations down to the neighborhood level, the article said.

However, some members of Congress are concerned and are asking Apple to explain, reports the Washington Post, among other news outlets.

Consumers can be proactive in not having their information taken and stored on the infamous consolidated.db file: a jailbreak antidote has already been revealed.

Jailbroken iDevice owners can install an application that will lock up their iPhones in such a way as to block that GPS information from being stored and therefore being taken, reports Foxbusiness.com.

Jailbreak apps are made by third parties and are not endorsed by Apple.

While most cell phone companies store the longitude and latitude information of its users, that data is usually encrypted and protected behind a firewall, according to ReadWriteWeb. The article adds that it usually requires a court order for others to be able to access it.

 

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