Is Apple iStalking You?
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