iPhone Geo Data Row Rumbles On

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The row about iPhone data logging rumbles on today. One security expert says your iPhone sends your location to Apple “twice a day” – and that you agreed to it (even if you didn’t realize it at the time).

Another says the data file at the center of the row is nothing new, and that Apple never gets its hands on it.

As we reported yesterday, there’s been a bit of a hoo-hah created by the release of iPhoneTracker, a free Mac app that displays the iPhone geo data stored on your computer.

The app was announced at the Where 2.0 conference by Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden.

But in a post on his blog, information forensics expert Alex Levinson says that the data file buried inside iOS is nothing new. He’s been researching it – alongside other aspects of iOS security and forensics – for months.

What’s more, Apple can’t, and doesn’t, get its hands on that data: “Apple is not harvesting this data from your device,” he states.

Levinson should know: he wrote the book on it. Literally. He and Sean Morrissey co-wrote iOS Forensic Analysis, which goes into some detail about the nature of the geo data logged by iPhones.

Meanwhile at F-Secure, Mikko Hypponen writes:

“If you run a modern iPhone, it will send your location history to Apple twice a day. This is the default operation of the device.”

When you setup a new iPhone in iTunes, you’re asked to agree to anonymized collection of “diagnostic and usage information” about your iPhone. That vague wording can mean pretty much anything – including location data.

So, is this storm in a teacup? Or serious invasion of privacy?

Well, stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: after reading all the articles on this subject yesterday, did you immediately switch off your iPhone and promise yourself never to use it again?

No, thought not. Neither did I.

(Via F-Secure)