Today at Where 2.0 Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan announced the discovery that your Apple iPhone, or 3G iPad regularly records the position of you and your device. How long has your Apple iPhone and iPad been collecting this data? It appears that ever since iOS 4 arrived in June of 2010 Apple has stored a list of locations and time stamps that are collected by triangulating against the nearest cell-phone towers.
Warden and Allan have stated that “there’s no evidence that it’s being transmitted beyond your device and any machines you sync it with,” but that doesn’t appear to satisfy Senator Al Franken (D-MN) who said that it is “entirely conceivable that malicious persons may create viruses to access this data from customers’ iPhones, iPads, and desktop and laptop computers.”
I am a bit astonished that the data being collected by Apple is in a form that is so readily accessible.
That said, the geek in me loves the idea of mining the information to track my past locations. Specifically, with my two-week road trip in 2010 it would interest me to look at that data and to have a record of exactly where I was and when. Here is a look at nearly a year of Apple tracking the locations I have been.
If you want to create your own visualization check out the iPhoneTracker tool on Pete Warden’s site. In the following video, Warden and Allan discuss how the file was discovered and while taking a look at the data contained in the SQLite file.