Cell phone technology has grown by leaps and bounds and it has made our life incredibly easy. We can do anything, from shopping to a reverse phone lookup, on our phones these days but some are asking the question, how far is too far?
The public was recently made aware that their iPhone keeps a record of everywhere you go. Many consumers, and consumer advocate groups, are concerned over what this means for privacy in the digital age. There is little to no mention of this feature or information that’s been made available to the public and many are questioning the purposes for this built-in action. According to an article in the UK Guardian, every single detail of users movements are saved in a secret file that’s specific to each individual device. This info is then copied, unbeknownst to the user, to their PC or laptop every time the person syncs up their device. The larger public, up till now unaware of this, was recently revealed by a security researchers.
Though there are many talks, now that people are starting to get vocal about their disconnect over this feature, that there will be a way, in the future, that you’ll be able to deactivate it by choice. Though Apple hasn’t offered one yet, the only way people can deactivate this is by using applications not supported by Apple. One of these apps is called “Untrackerd.” It has already been downloaded by many people and can be used to delete any data currently stored on your device or computer, as well as keep it from recording further information.
Currently the only way to download this application is by installing another app called “Jailbroken.” This app does nothing but unlocking your iPhone and neutering some of the safety features. From there, users can authorize and install software that is unsupported by Apple. Some of the potential risks of running either of these programs include:
Users run an increased chance that some unsupported applications will either run incorrectly or make other applications run strangely. This could also disrupt other security devices on the phone.
It’s still unclear if “Untrackerd” has an adverse side affects on the normal operation of the iPhone.
It is yet unclear if using these apps will negate the phone’s security or standard warranty.
There are instructional videos that have cropped up online with the specific purpose of showing people a step-by-step process of how to install these apps. It’s very easy and many have already done so in order to safeguard their privacy and movements. Whether people decide to continue using this after Apple releases a similar supported option remains to be seen.
This has called the motivations of Apple into questions as to why this feature exists at all. Some proponents of the app have said that helps safeguard against theft and the location of a person in emergency situations. Senior Technology consultant, Graham Cluley, at Sophos Security Company stated that this isn’t quite accurate. Many of these features can be turned off with great ease. He stated, “If the data isn’t required for anything, then it shouldn’t store the location. And it doesn’t need to keep an archive on your machine of where you’ve been.” Consumer advocates have said that a much greater likelihood exists that Apple has been using this information to sell to retailers and advertisers. Through offering the information, Apple would make a tidy sum for precious purchasing data. Anyone who’s motivated enough can turn the feature off with a little effort. It just depends on who sees this as an infringement their privacy.