The tech world is having itself a little freak-out over the news that iPhones using iOS4 (the latest operating system) have been saving users’ location data whenever they make a cell call. Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden discovered a hidden file in the phone’s operating system that keeps track of where the user has been. It is accessible through synced computers and the device itself. The file also tracks iPad users, but those egomaniacal perverts probably like that. Here’s a handy guide on what you can do about Steve Jobs being all up in your Kool-Aid without even knowing the flavor.
Encrypt data through iTunes
According to Allan and Warden, an immediate step you can take is to go into iTunes, click on your device and select “Encrypt iPhone Backup” under “options.” Another immediate step you can take is to throw your iPhone in a river and live in your panic room.
Make a map from your hidden data
This app turns all of Apple’s creepy info on you into a visually pleasing map.
Download an app that attacks the file
This app eliminates the location data from the original file. Your iPhone has to be jailbroken first, and Gizmodo says that it’s just a “band-aid.” So be careful.
Blog about where you’ve been
Gawker’s Adrian Chen sees a new trend emerging: people making maps of their once-hidden location data and posting it on the internet for all to see. It’s a really handy way to be an insufferable, bragging jackwad: “Hey Apple, why exactly do you need to know that I’m in Fiji? (It’s because I’m an insufferable, bragging jackwad, that’s why).”
Write a letter to Steve Jobs
Senator Al Franken did, and so can you! Steve Jobs has an email address that is publicly known (email@example.com), so go ahead and ask him about this hidden file! We’ve sent the following letter:
From: Greene, Nick
Sent: Thu 4/21/2011 2:14 PM
Subject: iOS4 Location Data Inquiry
People are bugging, like totally freaking about this. We’re chill ’cause we don’t have an iPhone, but we still have to ask:
What’s going on, dude?
We here at Runnin’ Scared are looking out for your privacy, America. Follow the preceding steps in order to look out for your own.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 21, 2011