Is Apple iStalking You?

5:00 PM Apple may be collecting location data about iPhone users, but the real question is whether they're selling it and to whom

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

April 20, 2011

1 Min Read
Is Apple iStalking You?

5:00 PM -- Gasp! The Twitter-verse is aghast at the news that the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone may be tracking your every move.

The news certainly isn't a great appetizer for Apple's earnings report Wednesday night: Security researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan revealed that Apple handsets record users' location co-ordinates along with a time-stamp on the phone in a secret -- but open -- file on the phone. So, in theory, interested parties (aka, your crazy stalker) could access the file and find out exactly where you've been. O'Reilly Media has posted a video of the two researchers talking about their findings, which you can watch below:

But what's really interesting to me is what Apple does with this information. Who -- if anyone -- do they sell it to?

Remember that carriers can already access this kind of information. Most every phone has a GPS receiver these days, and carriers can fine-tune that info by triangulating your position with cell-sites.

This is one of the ways used by the emergency services to try to find you if you place a 911 call. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) even recently made a feature of the capability with an opt-in location-aware ad and voucher service.

But the Apple demographic is no doubt an attractive one for many third-party advertisers, and with this information they have a lot more insight into their users' lifestyles. So I want to know what they actually do with this data.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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