Privacy is dying a slow death in this day and age. With people sharing everything under the sun (including some of the most embarrassing things one can share) on sites such as Facebook, many folks have gotten used to the idea of having less privacy (unfortunately). But people still do not expect their phone to track their every move. The news that Apple iPhone logs users’ locations should not be that surprising. But the way it has been exposed has not been great for Apple.
Let’s face it. iPhone is not the only device that is tracking its users. The device has GPS inside and the technology has always been there for Apple to gather data on its customers. Apple will most likely have to address the reasons it has gathered the data that it has. Many experts believe that Apple is doing that for its future geo-location based services. But that won’t stop lawmakers and privacy experts from going after Apple.
When experts talk about iPhone’s tracking feature, most folks assume the worst. Apple is not logging GPS data. The data stored in your phone cannot be accessed unless someone comes to physical possession of your device. As Andy Ihnatko explained, encryption can protect users from common risks of logging location on smart-phones. The fact that Apple didn’t disclose this feature is a bit disheartening though. Most security experts believe this feature started with iOS 4.
Apple is going to get a lot of flak for not disclosing this feature. Some will try to defend Apple and downplay the ramifications of this discovery. But the fact that the law enforcement agencies may already be using this data in their investigations should give people something to think about. Could this be just the tip of security iceberg? It does seem that way at this point.