April 21, 2011
According to news first reported by O’Reilly Radar, iDevices are tracking our every move and keeping this information in a hidden file. Worse still, this information is unencrypted and unprotected. Since iOS 4.0, Apple has included a file called “consolidate.db.” In it contains latitude-longitude coordinates along with a timestamp. Although the coordinates aren’t always perfect, they are very detailed and can contain tens of thousands of data points. Take a look at this video: Unfortunately, besides being alarmed, there is not much iDevice owners can do about something that has obvious security and privacy implications. In fact, we agreed to it by accepting Apple’s iPhone Terms of Service, which reads as follows:
To provide and improve these services, where available, Apple and its partners and licensees may transmit, collect, maintain, process and use your location data, including the real-time geographic location of your iPhone, and location search queries.And, before thinking about switching to another smart phone or tablet provider, BGR has confirmed user agreements for Google, Motorola, HTC, RIM, Microsoft, and HP/Palm contain similar language. Should we be concerned about this? Perhaps, but mainly because the file is not encrypted. Plus, why did Apple feel the need to include this tracking file in the first place? What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.