Unsecured Geographical Locations

by Irving A
Many iPhone and iPad users have been shocked recently as they’ve realized their devices have been recording a detailed history of their geographical locations for nearly the past year. As if this hasn’t already risen uncertainly it is even more shocking to know that the locations are being stored in an unprotected file. This fact has brought serious concern over consumer security and privacy. Apple has already provided an explanation, but it is clear that the file is still unprotected. Consumers are worried if their phones are stolen thieves have immediate access to location data from almost a year ago. The discovery was made by two data scientists recently, where they revealed that iPhones and iPads have an unencrypted file called “consolidated.db” which has been tracking and storing location data with exact times. According to Apple, geodata is being tracked and transmitted to Apple only if the consumer enables the Location Services option. If they do select it location data is being transmitted through cell towers and Wi-Fi access points to Apple. However, what raises concerns is that the data is being stored in the iPhone or iPad when it should be discarded instead.

It is very unclear as to why Apple is storing geographical location data of their consumers. According to Apple, it is being done to maintain a location database to provide faster and more precise location services. They want to determine where a device is located quickly and precisely. This is why they keep a database containing information from known locations of cell towers and Wi-Fi access points.

I believe the concerns of privacy and security are greater. The database should be kept secure under Apple and its employees. However, the location data should be deleted from the device daily. Once Apple receives the data required for the database to remain updated, all other data should be vanished. The geographical location data database is presumably helping Apple and providing many benefits, yet the consumer does not feel secure. However, I do believe both consumer security and database wellbeing are achievable. It would then result in a win-win situation for both Apple and Apple consumers.

Citation

Chen, B. (2011, April 11). Why and how apple is collecting your iphone location data. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/04/apple-iphone-tracking/