iPhone Tracking

This is a discussion on iPhone Tracking within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Following CNN article talks about iPhone tracking a users location and storing it without the user's knowledge: Apple blames iPhone ...

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    Registered User hk_mp5kpdw's Avatar
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    iPhone Tracking

    Following CNN article talks about iPhone tracking a users location and storing it without the user's knowledge:Apple blames iPhone tracking file on 'bug' - CNN.com
    The part that looked funny to me is this:
    After a week of silence, Apple on Wednesday responded to widespread complaints about iPhones and iPads tracking their users' whereabouts by saying "the iPhone is not logging your location" and announcing an upcoming mobile software update.

    The next version of Apple's iOS will store data about a phone's location for only seven days instead of for months, as was previously the case, the company says. Apple blamed the fact that so much location data had been stored on users' phones and computers on a software "bug."
    So... the device is not currently storing data but the next one will store data for 7 days instead of storing months of data? Didn't they just say they weren't storing data? Then they say they are storing months of data currently? Is it a misquote? Anybody know anything about this?
    "Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods."
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I also found it funny that they answer to question 10 saying they are fully committed to user privacy, but go on about saying that it was a bug (always very convenient). One that obviously their QA team didn't catch. That's their commitment right there.

    Anyways, like I commented somewhere else, I'll do it again in here where we are all programmers, most of us professional programmers. And it is this: We all have been there; There are some bugs that just aren't. And they happen more or less like this "hmm... this can be a problem if we get caught. But it's ok. We can always say its a bug".
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Epy
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    From just glancing at it on Slashdot when it came up, I read that Apple acknowledged they tracked in order to provide the best user experience, and then like 3 days later there was another article that said Steve Jobs said they weren't tracking anyone.

    I think it's safe to assume that if a device can track you, it probably does. Especially made by draconian Apple.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Here's a little more detail about how the tracking was "discovered" by independent iphone developers, and an open source app that will keep the tracking database clean for you (as in, not 7 days worth of information, or months worth of information, but NO information):

    Worried About iPhone Tracking? Jailbreak Utility Untrackerd Will Fix That For You - TNW Apple

    You need a jailbroken phone for that tho, which pretty much says loud and clear:

    Yes, we are tracking your location, and if you disable the software which does it, we will void your warranty!
    I suppose by not approving the app Apple can cling to it's nebulous public "maybe so, maybe not" statements.

    WRT jailbreaking, my phone is fine. The process is reversible, and AFAICT (presuming the redsnOw people, etc. are honest and informed), it cannot be detected if you "unjailbreak" it later. There are some things you can do once the phone is jailbroken that are irreversible and detectable, but you are given clear warning about those (or, lol, at least some of them).
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Apparently there is a software update on it's way, to get rid of the file. Here's a press release. Apple - Press Info - Apple Q&A on Location Data

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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Since the beginning we've all known that the iPhone can do Wi-Fi triangulation to determine position. How did you think they acquired all the Wi-Fi locations in order to do that, magic? You think Joe Blow at home with his open Wi-Fi access point is sending emails to Apple saying "Hey Apple, I have open Wi-Fi and my GPS coordinates are the following..."

    Big deal.
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    Since the beginning we've all known that the iPhone can do Wi-Fi triangulation to determine position. How did you think they acquired all the Wi-Fi locations in order to do that, magic? You think Joe Blow at home with his open Wi-Fi access point is sending emails to Apple saying "Hey Apple, I have open Wi-Fi and my GPS coordinates are the following..."

    Big deal.
    Sure, but if people have already created apps that exploit the tracking, then you have the potential for a third party to do exactly what you are saying.

    The issue to me is not about whether or not this is done, it's about Apple's honesty. I have no problem with creating the potential for applications to track you in real time, but many people will have well justified personal security issues with that.

    All they have to do is have a clear public policy. Instead:

    1) They willfully created this potential in the first place without having any policy set WRT its use.
    2) When people did start using it, they hummed, hawed and obfuscated because they did not want to admit they had made a mistake in not having a clear public policy in the first place.
    3) They then proposed a "fix" that is irrelevant instead of proposing a policy, or offering the user the option to disable this functionality completely.

    This is the typical proprietary OS "dumb them down" approach: what they don't know may or may not hurt them, but at least we can evade responsibility if they don't know what hurt them if it does. Closed source! Hegemonic corporatism! The idea is that people who don't care still won't, and the people who do can be placated with dishonesty and mumbo-jumbo.
    Last edited by MK27; 04-28-2011 at 09:51 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    My questions ares:
    -Can an application read that file?
    -Will the application warn you and/or ask for permission if it can do so?

    The fact that, as far as I understand, cannot disable this feature or clear the history, is simply ridiculous. It is stupid completely. I don't see the benefit for anybody. The only things we can assume is Apple doesn't want you to get rid off this data. Why, though? If they want to collect this data, they have to send it to an Apple database. In which case the file can be cleared. They can also keep it encrypted with a private key only Apple knows. So this doesn't make sense. My opinion is that they simply got sloppy. This was an mistake on the design. I really see no benefit for Apple.
    If the idea was for an applet to be able to read this file, then again it makes no sense not to be able to control this feature. It should be the opposite for an OS claimed to be secured. Especially as this is a good argument against the Android.

    In a few words, I don't think Apple is being tricky. They just made a stupid unintentional mistake. Or they misjudged the effects of this implementation.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    I don't think Apple is being tricky. They just made a stupid unintentional mistake. Or they misjudged the effects of this implementation.
    How about the patent Apple applied for in 2009 on “Location Histories for Location Aware Devices”?

    Wouldn't it be handy to ahve tons of data to debug?

    Once you release the app wouldn't it be handy if every iPhone etc had your complete history ready to use?

    Apple Filed a Patent Application in 2009 for What It’s Now Calling a ‘Bug’ - Kashmir Hill - The Not-So Private Parts - Forbes
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  10. #10
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    That compared to users feeling that their privacy is compromised I would expect to have much less commercial value. Which I think seems to be the case.

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