Apple’s iPhone is a major threat to the privacy of all the people in the United States who have one, according to a professor at Michigan State University. The recent revelation that if a person has used cell phones belonging to the Apple iPhone brand, they have had their location tracked and that information stored in a form that is not even encrypted is a serious threat to privacy in the opinion of the University’s assistant professor of geography, Kirk Goldsberry.
While Apple claims the discovery has been the result of a technical fault which it will fix, Goldsberry says that it brings to light serious issues about privacy and big corporations. “As it stands now, we’re putting a lot of blind faith in companies that are collecting, storing, and using this information to do the right thing,” Goldsberry notes. “Who knows how many other companies are doing the same thing? We should have somebody to hold them accountable for the privacy of the public at large.”
Peter Warden and Allasdair Allan, security researchers in the United Kingdom, made the discovery that the Apple iPhone tracks the movements of its users and then saves that information, which includes longitude and latitude, together with a time stamp to a secret file on the mobile device. The information that can then be passed along to any computer, regardless of location, that is used to synchronize it.
“There are literally millions of iPhone users out there and if only hundreds have this information used against them, I think that’s a big problem,” Goldsberry says.