Apple found tracking your location in iOS 4 privacy breach

Apple is in the firing line for placing iPhone and iPad customers' privacy at risk after reports emerged that the two Apple devices track the users' location before downloading the information onto their computer when synced.

The research, coming from security researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, found that the privacy issue emerged after the iOS 4 release, and could well be part of Apple's scheme where it collects data in order to target iAds - tailored adverts that pop up on an individual iPhone and iPad user.

The privacy issue means that a users' location is stored locally on the device and any synced computer, but apparently is not sent elsewhere. The report also suggests that this data collection is "intentional" - unsurprisingly, no response has come from Apple.

Allan stated that: "What makes this issue worse is that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and it's on any machine you've synched with your iOS device. It can also be easily accessed on the device itself if it falls into the wrong hands. Anybody with access to this file knows where you've been over the last year, since iOS 4 was released."

Research was also carried out with phones using the Google Android operating system, though nothing similar was found.

It is important to note however, that with the advent of location-based services such as photo tagging and mapping, your location will be known to the companies that provide the service - it is the local-based nature of the data collection by Apple which seems strange in this case.

What do you think? Is this kind of data collection a problem, or should we accept that if you use a smartphone your information is fair game? Let us know in the comments.



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