The iPhone tracking issue that’s causing a big privacy stink isn’t new and isn’t really tracking users, says an iOS forensics researcher.
It’s actually a data file that is used internally by the iPhone to do things like geo-tag photos, and it’s been in iOS for a long time (in a different form).
What’s new is a nifty extraction tool called iPhoneTracker that pulls the data off your hard drive and makes a striking map out of it. iPhoneTracker was released this week at O’Reilly’s Where 2.0 conference, causing a huge outcry about privacy and prompting U.S. Senator Al Franken to write to Steve Jobs.
In addition, the file has become more accessible than it used to be because it’s now used by third-party apps that require location data.
“It is not secret, malicious, or hidden,” writes Alex Levinson, an iOS forensics researcher.