After a record quarter ending in March with $24.7 Billions in revenue with all numbers exceeded analyst expectations except iPad sales (that most people still can not buy due to shortage), comes a disturbing news that iOS 4.x secretly stores an non-encrypted file with tracking of location of iPhone or iPad 3G users. The file is part of the user database that got sync’ed up when connected to iTunes software running on desktop

imageIt is not clear if the file is transmitted to Apple nor used by others. Security researchers unveiled the findings and published an open source app that can even display a year worth of location tracking on a map.

Many apps track user location for different purposes using the built-in GPS, WiFi or cell tower triangulation, but they are obligated to ask for user consents prior. So far, users do not have the choice to op-out, unless jailbreaking their iPhone.

The discovery is serious considering privacy violation, abuse trust, endangerment to users (many are minors); , etc…  Apple is expected to answer the reasons this feature shortly.

The security researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan talking about how they discovered the existence of the tracking database on the iPhone, and what it might mean. Also how they went about exploring and visualizing the data once they knew it was there, and show how it could be used to track individuals movements over time.

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