Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hidden Tracking Files Found in Ipad as well now

Apple faced questions on Wednesday about the security of its iPhone and iPad after a report that the devices regularly record their locations in a hidden file.

The report came from a technology conference in San Francisco, where two computer programmers presented research showing that the iPhone and 3G versions of the iPad began logging users’ locations a year ago, when Apple [AAPL 351.1099 8.6999 (+2.54%) ] updated its mobile operating system.

After customers upgraded the software, a new hidden file began periodically storing location data, apparently gleaned from nearby cellphone towers and Wi-Fi networks, along with the time.

The data is stored on a person’s phone or iPad, but when the device is synced to a computer, the file is copied over to the hard drive, the programmers said. The data is not normally encrypted; although users can encrypt their information when they sync their devices, few do.

To some privacy advocates, the storing of the data was a clear breach.

“The secretive collection of location data crosses the privacy line,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy policy organization based in Washington. (read more)