Technology can be a wonderful thing, but lately we’ve found some of our devices as well as applications, are a bit too intrusive. We like the fact that most of our cell phones have GPS capability because if we have an emergency, police can find our location. But according to two techies, those of us that have bought the iPhone 4 those files aren’t just available to police. The file of our every move is on our phone and can be accessed by anyone with our phone or our computer.
Alasdair Allan, senior research fellow at the University of Exeter and Pete Warden, founder of Data Science Toolkit, gave a 20-minute presentation at the Where 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Ca., this week on exactly how intrusive the newest iPhone has been. The two researchers had been working on data imagery including developing a map that shows the radiation levels in Japan when they happened upon the tracking file.
Allan said, “I started poking around backups on the Mac and I stumbled across a directory named location d.” The result was a file of “latitudes and longitudes” in an accessible cell file with time stamps and IDs. He went on to say that he discovered that the phone had “a year’s worth of data for every cell that we’ve been through since we upgraded to IOS 4.” So when you switch phones and get it “synced” to the next phone that info is included.
Check out their presentation. Warning! this is two tech guys talking. Get your scientific manuals ready: