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[liberationtech] iPhones/iPads secretly track 'scary amount' of your movements

Nathan Freitas nathan at
Wed Apr 20 13:20:13 PDT 2011

On 04/20/2011 03:55 PM, Frank Corrigan wrote:
> More reasons for activists/protesters in hostile (ordinary) environments
> not to bring along their mobile phone, latest cell connected gizmo.

... and return to megaphones, flags, smoke signals, carrier pigeons and
frantic arm waving instead? If our ordinary environments are truly
hostile, then either we give up ever using a mobile phone, or we find
some way to address the problem.

Don't get me wrong, this latest revelation on mobile privacy is indeed
scary, and Apple better fess up. I just think we can fix these issues,
instead of allowing them to be disempowering.

In this case at least, turning your phone into "airplane mode" would
have stopped the phone from broadcasting its availability to and
registering with mobile towers. This would stop the active triangulation
of your location from being logged into the local iOS database.

I have an "airplane mode" icon on my Android phone home screen. Anytime
I am not expecting an important call, or am reachable by another means
(email, IM, irc), I generally activate it. Not only does it reduce my
location footprint data trail, but it also saves quite a bit of battery

I also like Google's Latitude Dashboard which encourages user to really
"own it" when it comes to mobile location data tracking. They have a
really pretty UI, charts, etc, that can show you how many minutes a day
you spend at home, the gym, work or your local pub. Their point is that
if government and mobile phone operators already have this data, why
shouldn't you (the user and human being tracked) also benefit from it?

All in all, we shouldn't cede the advantage technology can bring to the
movements and causes we care about because developers at Apple and Skype
(see their recent issue with Android app data permissions) are clearly
make very bad decisions about how they implement their closed-source


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