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Can the iPhone track your every move?

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POSTED: Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 4:54pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 4:57pm

If you’re an iPhone user, you may want to check this out! The newest operating system for iPhones keeps track of everywhere you are. Then, it saves that data for years to come.

Jamie Seymour keeps the location settings on his iPhone turned off, but there are still ways to know where he is. That’s because a hidden feature in his phone records his GPS location every four hours, and then, stores it in a file, along with a timestamp.

“It makes me a little uncomfortable,” says Seymour. “It’s not that I have anything to hide. I just don’t like people going into my personal information.”

He’s not alone. This feature is in every single iPhone, and iPad, that uses the iOS4 operating system, which came out last summer. It’s not just in the iPhone4. Older iPhones can update to this particular system.

Local tech expert, Royce Malloy, has his doubts about the feature, especially because the average user never gets to see it.

“Give me that information. I’ll be happy,” he says. “If you don’t give it to me, I don’t understand why it’s doing that.”

Malloy says some people can see the feature, like undercover investigators or criminals, if they know how to look for it. In fact, he says the feature could be a major invasion of privacy in some cases.

“Someone could theoretically track you down really easily and find your patterns,” says Malloy. “Where you go, what you do every day.”

All a person would need is access to your cell phone, or the computer where you sync up your iPhone information. “Who’s watching? Does Big Brother see what I’m doing?” asks Malloy. “This is just another contribution to that concept.”

While there doesn’t seem to be any clear evidence that this tracking data is being sent out, the question still stands. Why is it there in the first place?

“Maybe it has to do with optimizing network reliability or something that the layman can’t understand,” explains Malloy. “But I don’t really see a reason for it.”

For most iPhone users we talked to, it’s a feature they could do without. They feel better off knowing Big Brother isn’t watching.
 

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