That iPhone you love so much – it’s tracking everywhere you’ve been – all the time

A very scary report has just shown up on Gizmodo written by Sam Biddle where he maps everywhere he has been over the last year.

So what is so scary about that?

Well all the data used to create the map of Biddle’s travels didn’t come from special tracking gadget but instead came from his iPhone.

It turns out that the iPhone sitting comfortably in your pocket has been recording everywhere you have been since last June. The data is stored on your iPhone; and apparently your iPad as well, and is easily available to anyone who gets their hands on it.

The data itself is jarringly accurate. And even though it appears to rely on tower triangulation rather than GPS pinpointing (meaning you’re not safe with location services switched off), the map I was able to generate with mapping software the security duo released visualizes my life since the day I bought my iPhone 4 in July. Everywhere I’ve been. Bus trips home. Train trips to visit family. Vacations. Places I’d forgotten I’d even gone. Zoom in on that giant blotch over New York, and you can see my travels, block by block. My entire personal and professional life—documented by a phone I didn’t know was also a full time location logging device. It’s all accessible—where I’ve been, and when. (The animated software doesn’t show location linked to any duration of less than a week, so it can’t be used to snoop that closely. But the actual underlying database is timed to the second.) I don’t really have anything to hide, which is why I don’t mind sharing my map above. But at least let me turn this tracker off.

For now, there is no fix. The only way to remove it from your computer is to wipe your back up files from your computer. But then you have no back ups to restore your phone in case you lose it. And every time you sync your computer, though, it’ll create a new file. And if you do lose your phone, all your tracking data goes with it, right into the hands of whoever found it. And if you upgrade your phone to the next iPhone, the location tracking history goes with it.

Washington DC to New York from Alasdair Allan on Vimeo.

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