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Apple Users Beware

Apple iPad
Courtesy of Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Two computer programmers revealed iPhones and iPads have been tracking every make and move a person takes, at a technology conference in San Francisco.

Apparently, when Apple updated their mobile operating system with iOS4, a new hidden file was uploaded to the iPhone and 3G versions of the iPad.  This file stores data from cellphone towers and nearby WiFi locations, tracking the user/ their device, where they have been and at what time.

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Apple iPhone 4
Courtesy of Feng Li, Getty Images

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Kind of invasive, don’t you think?  Apple was presented with some questions on Wednesday about this tracking file and what its purpose is, but has not responded.  Though some contest it is nothing other than a security measure the question is, “who is viewing this information?”  Better yet, “who is the collected data being shared with?”

I guess in the instance of a lost phone, it would be nice to go to your cell phone company and ask them to find your phone since you obviously can’t.  Then you wouldn’t get nailed with either the cost to fully replace it or buying a new phone all together.

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iPhone user
Courtesy of Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

Another instance where I guess it would be useful is in a criminal case.  If there was a pending murder investigation (sort of like the one on Long Island where a serial killer is on the loose) you could track where the victim had been, at what time and a timeline of events by looking at the tracking device on their cell phone.  Though law enforcement officials can get most of this information already.  However, I still think I’m with privacy advocates on this one.  I wonder what is the everyday purpose of this tracking application.

The worst part is that when you sync your phone to your computer, a hidden file is created on your home computer (or iPad) which stores this information further.  This could make our personal information vulnerable to hackers and accessible to more outside parties.  Not that my life is very exciting or scandalous, but I still don’t think I want people knowing where I am or where I’m going to be.  Could open up a new door for stalking for some people!  Very scary.

What do you think about this tracking of your whereabouts?  It use to be that you just wouldn’t answer the phone if you didn’t want someone to know where you are or what you’re up to?  Now they might not even have to call you to find out that information.  They could just go online and look!

For more information on this story, check out CNN.com.

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