Your Phone Is Watching You

Secret tracking chip found in Apple products

Researchers say they found a secret file in Apple devices that use the iOS 4.x mobile operating system, which contains detailed information on the user’s whereabouts. Tens of thousands of location files with time stamps sit in the file “consolidated.db,” unprotected, unencrypted, and ripe for the picking by any tech-savvy sticky fingers who comes across your phone.

The discovery of the file comes from security researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan who highlighted the file’s detailed information by releasing a software program that maps users’ location histories. Though some tech lovers have found the mapping software novel, Apple's secret file will add further fuel to the ongoing debate about how companies capture, store, and share user information. Warden and Allan say they contacted Apple’s Product Security Team, but have not received a response.

Last year, Apple added a new clause to its disclosure agreement stating that the company would collect this type of data, but assured users the information was anonymous. A former Apple engineer, however, says linking a person to the location data is not difficult in the least.