Search Mailing List Archives

Limit search to: Subject & Body Subject Author
Sort by: Reverse Sort
Limit to: All This Week Last Week This Month Last Month
Select Date Range     through    

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

Bill Best at
Thu Apr 21 02:13:29 PDT 2011

This open-source application maps the information that your iPhone is
recording about your movements. It doesn't record anything itself, it
only displays files that are already hidden on your computer.

Bill Best
Community Media Association

On 21 April 2011 08:55, Frank Corrigan <email at> wrote:
> I am not seeking to conflate or exaggerate the issues I was just
> unfamiliar with devices themselves retaining such easy to access and
> extensive location data and I understand the ipad and iphone also place
> the location data file on any computer used to back them up/sync or
> access online services like iTunes. I am aware there is a trade off
> between use of technology and the consequential digital footprints, it
> is just that Apple has added this function to it's devices without
> giving users informed consent of it's activation or explanation of it's
> purpose and it does not appear to offer any added value to the
> iPhone/iPad users.
> I am aware that in depth research needs to be done on the likes of Tor
> usage on 3G cell tower connected devices.
> Frank
> ----- Original message -----
> From: "Rafal Rohozinski" <r.rohozinski at>
> To: "Liberation Technologies"
> <liberationtech at lists">liberationtech at>
> Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 22:51:53 -0400
> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] iPhones/iPads secretly track 'scary
> amount' of    your movements
> It's not just iPhones that record vast amount of data that can be easily
> geo-located and reconstruct  person's movements,  networks, and personal
>  communication - any cell phone going back 15 years stores  data through
> log files, message  and SMS traffic that can be reconstructed and
> retrieved to create pretty comprehensive profiles of usage and location.
>  Devices that do forensic extraction (UFED) are quite widespread and in
> use throughout police forces intelligence agencies as well as  most
> cellular carriers  around the world. For those of you for whom  this is
> a revelation, I'd advise you to take a look at this website of a leading
> provider of UFEDs.  There are some interesting videos, and once you're
> done,  take a look at where this company has  it's permanent
> representatives.
> Time for a reality check. Mobile phones are essentially digital dogtags
> so if you're concerned about  the ability they have to track your
> movements and  communications -  do like Osama, use  exclusively
> off-line means through trusted intermediaries.  Otherwise  accepting
> that cell phones are  a risk to privacy is just  the flip side of the
> convenience that these devices bring.  With or without Apple  networks
> are essentially  spiderwebs    -  that's the essence of modern signals
> intelligence.
> It's worrisome that there are a lot of myths   among the activist
> community about cell phone security. True, you can "drive up the
> negatives" and make it  more difficult for a casual actor to scan or
> obtain PII  from your  phone ( so I  I agree with Nathan) -  but if
> you're up against  well resourced opponents, most of these tools  plain
> ineffective and their very presence on your phone may be more of a
> giveaway that  actually makes you more  of a a target of interest.
> Unfortunately security is not a product or something you can buy
> shrink-wrapped in code.  Its practice and process  and  ultimately comes
> down to the risks you're willing to take in the service of an objective
> or cause.  And if you want to play in the big tent, it's  good
> old-fashioned tradecraft and not better toys that make a difference.
> Rafal
> On Apr 20, 2011, at 5:43 PM, Frank Corrigan wrote:
>> I am aware of the general principle of mobile phone tracking, it is just
>> that most people assume this data is only accessible via cell tower
>> providers or via a court order/lawful request, not recorded on the
>> device itself and accessible in an easy to read format to anyone who has
>> access and inclination or has impounded it for law enforcement purposes.
>> I suppose it's a bit like the Windows IE index.dat files. Now of course
>> anyone crossing a USA border can have such devices taken away and such
>> location data easily copied for later in-situ analysis.
>> Frank
>> ----- Original message -----
>> From: "Nathan Freitas" <nathan at>
>> To: "Frank Corrigan" <email at>, "Liberation
>> Technologies" <liberationtech at lists">liberationtech at>
>> Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 16:20:13 -0400
>> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] iPhones/iPads secretly track 'scary
>> amount' of    your movements
>> 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
>> life!
>> 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
>> software.
>> Best,
>> Nathan

More information about the liberationtech mailing list